27 July

State of Elyria - July 2017

By Caspian

Hail Elyrians,

Back in December of 2016 I started a tradition by writing my first annual "look back." It was my first annual because I wasn't expecting to write another one until next December. However, starting as early as May I began feeling like another was necessary. I wasn't entirely sure why I felt that way, I just knew I did. Then, earlier this week, when in a meeting with our leadership team I realized what it was.

In our meeting the subject of our company's core values came up. One of our values is transparency, and that stood out to me. I reflected on the last few months and realized that we'd become less transparent with our community and, as a result, we weren't upholding one of our studio's core values. So I started thinking about why that was and what we could do about it. And this is what I came up with...

When we first started working on CoE we were extremely transparent. We regularly sat in IRC or Discord and chatted with players about everything - what we were working on, how progress was going, etc. We regularly shared screenshots and we even had "Caspian Story Time", where I'd leak bits of lore in the form of stories about the various Qin of the Qindred faith. It was as close to "seeing how the sausage is made" as we could possibly get.

But as time went on and our audience increased, so too did the number of people who didn't have the same stomach for seeing what's in the sausage. And I can't blame them. Game development can be a messy process. There's a ton of iterations, throw-away work, slipped milestones, resource shortages, illnesses, and everything else you can imagine. And seeing all that can leave a bad taste in someone's mouth. It's a lot like seeing those videos on YouTube about how gelatin or hotdogs are made (Don't do it, it's a trap!).

In this regard, transparency is a double-edged sword. People want to feel connected to the project they're supporting (and we want them to!), but getting too much visibility into the process can actually reduce confidence and make people question their support. In other words, sometimes it can make you lose your appetite. As we started realizing that exposing too much information could be counter-productive we began shifting the information we shared from raw and wriggling, to something more broadly appetizing.

Regardless of our intentions, it's clear we may have overcompensated in our desire to shield the community for the messier parts of game development. Where once we chatted with the community about how the build was failing, we instead only shared work that we were proud of or was farther along in development. Where once I sat in IRC discussing lore as it was being written down, I now had to spend my time working with the growing team to develop the ideas I came up with, and we were careful not to share things that were half-baked that would set unrealistic expectations among our fans. And, most noticeably, where once we shared even the dates of our internal milestones, we now no longer shared even what year the game was going to ship in. In short, we went from being fully transparent to sharing only about as much as the average game studio (not enough!). And that's not the studio we want to be.

So, this State of Elyria is an attempt at getting back to where we want to be; to revealing those things we've kept close to the vest, and to answering those questions we know you've been asking. So, like the ghosts of Elyria Past, Present, and Future, let's take a look at what we've done so far this year, where we are now, and where we're headed.

Looking Back

In the tradition of my first State of Elyria back in December, I wanted to take a moment to look at where we are now, relative to where we've been. This gives me a chance to reflect on key differences between now and then, and shine a light on some of what we've accomplished.

Soulbound Studios Gets New MMO Developers!

One of the biggest differences between now and December is the people we have working at Soulbound Studios. Back in December we had a very talented team - primarily artists and animators - who, aside from one or two people, didn't have a ton of experience in the MMO space. We were a passionate team of experienced game developers, and knew the problems that would arise from creating an MMO, but were for the most part untested when it came to developing MMOs.

Since then we've expanded our engineering team by several hundred percent and hired a Technical Art Lead; most of which whom specialize in the creation of MMOs. Some of our hires in the last six months include...

Lead Programmer, Steve "Cynax" Hoelle - Steve joined Soulbound Studios as a former Lead and Senior Server/Gameplay programmer for companies such as S2, Kabam, EA, Vigil, and Sigil. He's had a ton of experience in the MMO space working on games such as Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. The range of experience made him uniquely qualified to help us anticipate the problems we might not have otherwise anticipated, and help us solve problems he'd already faced multiple times at previous studios.

Lead Technical Artist, Dennis "Wiz" Price - Dennis joined Soulbound Studios after nineteen years working as an Art Director, Lead Artist, and Technical Artist for companies such as Airtight Games, Turn 10 Studios, and most relavently, a total of over 11 years working as a Lighting and Cinematic Lead for Blizzard Entertainment. His experience has allowed him to jump in and immediately improve the content pipeline and processes we use here at Soulbound Studios, preparing us for the large volume of assets and data necessary for an MMORPG. And this says nothing about the lighting and material improvements we've already made to the game to really make it stand apart from other MMOs.

Lead Animator, Colin "Mudokon" Brown - While Colin technically joined us at the very end of 2016, he wasn't put into the position of Lead Animator until 2017. With over 10 years experience as an animator, Colin joined us after being Lead Animator at Disney Interactive on Star Wars: Commander and just before that a Character Animator at Cryptic Studios on City of Heroes and Star Trek Online. Not only does Colin drive the other animators to do their best work, but having Colin act as Lead Animator has forced us to consider animation in each and every technical decision we make. This ensures CoE looks more like a living, breathing world than an MMO, but does so even with the latency issues that accompany an MMO.

Sr. Server/Gameplay Programmer, Joshua "Glaive" Galvin - Josh joined Soulbound Studios directly after leaving ArenaNet, where he had worked on the MMORPG, Guild Wars 2 since 2013. Having also previously worked as a programmer at Cryptic Studios, Josh immediately jumped in at Soulbound Studios as an architect on our back-end, helping us to develop a technology stack that allows for rapid iteration and perhaps the fastest engineering workflow I could imagine on an MMORPG. The rapid rate of acceleration on the development of our back-end over the last several months is in large-part due to Josh.

I can't over-state the importance and significance of having a leadership team comprised of talented, experienced MMO developers. This leadership team has taken us from a studio with bold ideas and a willingness to take on tough challenges, to a studio with experience taking on tough challenges and a desire to push the boundaries. As any former guild-leader knows, the strength of a guild is dependent on the strength of its officers. And we have an officer core I'm honored to be working with.

Fantasy, Adventure, and Freedom of Movement

We like to say Chronicles of Elyria is a sort of "mid-fantasy, high adventure" game. What does that mean exactly? Well, to start with it means the game is neither high fantasy, nor low fantasy. Unlike most high fantasy games we don't have radically different races with exotic skin tones, fur and scales, and widely varying silhouettes. Similarly, it's uncommon to see the use of magic in general, and there definitely aren't hundreds or thousands of fireball wielding mages wandering around the cities like folks off to market. On the other hand, it's not a medieval simulator either. Elyria is a different world from Earth and the history, lore, religions, physics, chemistry, and biology of Elyria is different from our own. This allows us to do things in-game which generally can't be done on Earth, and in a more fantastical way.

Most importantly, the defining characteristic of High vs. Low fantasy is centered on the types of challenges the characters in the world will face. In a low fantasy setting the challenges facing the characters are generally localized and personal. As a result, the tools necessary to solve those problems typically extend no further than the tools we posses as average humans. But in a high fantasy setting, it's not uncommon for the characters to face world or universe altering obstacles, like Sauron and the One Ring. As a result, high fantasy settings often require tools beyond the average mortal, with things like magic and technology being common go-to's to help overcome those challenges.

Chronicles of Elyria is unique because it is both high fantasy in certain ways, and low fantasy in others. In fact, it's more closely related to Heroic Fantasy or Sword & Sorcery. But it's even more than that. As we've discussed before, the world the players enter into on launch day is unlikely to be the world players will see ten years from now. As the story begins to unfold, and the challenges go from localized and personal to worldly and universal, the genre will gradually shift from more low fantasy to more high fantasy. I guess you can think of it as kind of a "Dynamic Fantasy." Coined it. It's mine.

That all said, there's also this concept of "high adventure." When I think of high adventure I think of stories and IPs like Prince of Persia, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Robin Hood, Indiana Jones, and Goonies. I imagine people exploring deep caverns, discovering the secrets of ancient tombs, facing the challenges of forgotten dungeons, or swinging rope-to-rope while sword fighting during a sea-faring skirmish. You know... adventurous stuff.

A large part of our imagination pertaining to "high adventure" is directly tied to the idea of moving around in the world in a less restrictive way. To that end, we created an adventuring party called, "The League of Extraordinary Locomotion" that spent a significant amount of time during the first half of the year getting the platforming and parkour elements of our locomotion system in place. This included ladder climbing, jumping, hanging, ledge hopping, vaulting, sliding, balancing, and zip-lining. In fact, the mechanics behind our parkour and freedom of movement was so much a part of the first quarter of the year that it became our PAX East 2017 Experience.

PAX East & GDC 2017

As with 2016, Soulbound Studios once again set off to PAX East this year with the aim of making our presence known and revealing some part of what we've been up to. This year we once again faced the two main reasons why you really don't see other in-development MMOs at PAX. I'm going to repeat that because I feel it's worth emphasizing. While we've confidently stepped onto the show floor for the previous two PAX Easts, and will be at PAX West in a little over a month, you generally won't find many other indie MMOs at PAX. And here's why...

Problem 1: MMORPGs don't typically show well at conventions. There's so much involved in MMORPGs such as character creation, the skill system, combat, trade and economics, the environment, crafting, housing, sieging, lore, etc. that in the 3-8 minutes the average PAX-goer is willing to spend standing at your booth, there simply isn't enough time to present a well-rounded, comprehensive experience of what to expect from the game. So even if the pretty graphics draw them in, they generally won't stick around long enough to really grasp the unique selling points of such a complex game.

Problem 2: In-development MMOs are like un-inked graphic novels. There simply isn't enough pretty stuff to show off until there's enough content to make it worth-while for the players. As most MMOs focus on function before form, it's very difficult to show anything worth-while during early development. Chronicles of Elyria is no exception. We're simply not far enough along to show as an MMORPG at PAX.


Our booth at PAX East 2017

To get around the previous two problems, Soulbound Studios has continuously taken a different approach to PAX. Rather than use it as an opportunity to show off our MMORPG, we use it as an opportunity to show off a small subset of CoE features which we believe show well, are entertaining, and represent the largest part of the work we've done since our previous convention.

At PAX East 2017 we showed the "Silver-Run Mine." Silver-Run Mine is a curated (hand-created) experience that is part of the Prologue, and is designed to allow players to explore the many things they can do with parkour and the high-adventure freedom of movement in CoE. It's also a vital part of the story-line of the Prologue and has significant meaning to the events leading up to the launch of the game. Overall the demo was received very well, and people who got their hands on it had nothing but positive things to say about the fluidity of movement in the game. That said, there was a regression in our combat system due to ongoing design work, which unfortunately drew some of the attention away from what we really wanted to show off during that PAX.


The Silver-Run Mine

While PAX East 2017 may not have shown off quite as well as our combat demo in 2016, there's more benefit to going to PAX than just the obvious. For us, PAX is always a point of unity for the studio. Where we may be participating in different adventuring parties through the year, the 4-6 weeks leading up to PAX is an opportunity for us to all come together as a studio and focusing on a single element or experience of CoE. We often work extra hard during the last two weeks, but we've always felt very good about the state of CoE after a little spit & polish.

Animals and Mounts

Another focus of the first half of 2017 has been on getting our animals more fully in-game. This has been the key focus of the Elyrian Zoological Society who've spent time understanding the needs and behaviors of each animal, and adding a metric-ton of animations in order to support the various responses an animal may have to their surroundings. Where once we just had walking and idle animations, there's now a full suite of animations for each animal including walking, running, sprinting, combat, eating, various forms of alertness, swimming, drowning, dying, and in some cases many more... such as mounting and dismounting. Which leads me to the next task the Zoological Society has been focused on.

In many games, mounts are optional or are a reward for hoofing it (pun intended) before being allowed to move on to more expedient forms of transportation. But in a game the size of Chronicles of Elyria, any travel beyond just moving around your settlement is going to require some form of mount or other means of locomotion.

As a result, mounted movement has been a large focus of the second quarter of 2017. While it may not sound like much, mounted movement requires the engagement of a large part of the studio. It requires animations for the mounts themselves, animations for the player-character while mounting and unmounting - as well as while on the mounts (yeah, we animate the character rather than posing them like toy figurines - go figure). It requires the art team to creates the models, rigs, and materials for the mounts, and of course it requires engineering to handle the mounted controls and network code required to communicate the mounted movement between the server and clients.

As a result, however, I feel like we have the smoothest, most enjoyable mounted experience of any MMO thus far. Here... take a look..

Riding around Titan's Steppe

Tribes

A big focus of the design team this year - in combination with the character and content team - has been the tribes. Dubbed "The Tribe Foundry," this adventuring party has been responsible for taking the concepts of varying bloodlines and cultures and combining them into a set of tribes that feel inviting and uniquely different from one another.

This is a lot harder than it sounds! Chronicles of Elyria is more than a game, it's a living, breathing world. In order to make it convincing we have to take world-building to much greater heights than is seen in most other MMOs. We need not just a few different character models and some passive and active abilities, we need religions, principles, culture, likes and dislikes, and most importantly, environmental adaptations.

You see, Elyria is a lot like Earth - if humans on Earth had continued to adapt through the process of evolution, rather than largely stopping with the introduction of technology. As a result of this continued evolution, Mann-kind in Elyria is similar to humans on earth ... but more exaggerated. They're stronger, faster, taller, smaller, smarter, more agile, more communal, and more aggressive than humans. All at the same time.

They feel things deeper. They have a closer connection to nature. And they rely on their instincts and adaptations in ways we do not. But aside from coming up with the natural adaptations that would occur through evolution as a result of the individual biomes, the hardest challenge with the tribes is giving them unique play styles while still making them attractive to some subset of the population.

Our motivation with each tribe was to create something that about 1/12th of the community would enjoy playing. As a result, we'd have a roughly even distribution of the tribes. In our minds, having a tribe that was universally loved was as much a failure as having a tribe that was universally hated. While the idea of creating something we know roughly 92% of the population wouldn't want to play is difficult for some, we feel that doing it this way allows players to more strongly identify with their chosen (or given) tribe. Which is one of the main ideas behind the tribes. Nobody fights to defend the integrity of their race or bloodline, but they'll fight for the survival of their tribe. Like all things in Chronicles of Elyria, the introduction of tribes creates a source of conflict in the world, and gives players the opportunity to drive the problem to one of several resolutions.

Will they attempt to annihilate a tribe or two.... or eleven, will they breed until there is no distinction between the tribes and their cultures, or will they fight to protect the culture and history we've introduced into the world? We can't say, but we're super excited to see what unfolds after the game launches.

Because tribes are such a complex topic, the design team wanted to make significant headway before bringing in much of the rest of the studio. So while there's concept art of the various tribes, the character team has just recently gotten involved. So far we've been working with tools to help us control the various values of the tribes - as unlike other MMOs, it needs to be possible in CoE for each bloodline to intermix with every other bloodline.

As a result of the tools, we're now able to blend between various skin colors, and are working on the different proportions of the various tribes. Once we've got that on lock, we'll begin to delve into the unique facial features, hair styles, and equipment of the different tribes. In the mean time, take a look at the early tooling and see what some of the skin colors might look like. But remember, there isn't a single skin color for a bloodline, and in the below video the body proportions aren't correct. So if someone looks bulkier or scrawnier than you assumed, you're probably right. That'll be tuned over the coming months.


A brief look at sample skin colors of the various tribes

Body Dynamics & Customization

Speaking of body proportions, one of the cornerstones of Chronicles of Elyria is for it to feel like a living, breathing, dynamic world. To that end, we like to say that character customization begins after character creation ends. One such way we do that is with the body dynamic system. While there's still a bit more work to be done on the back-end to support the body dynamic system, the client-side work is largely complete. As you can see from this screenshot, earlier this year we showed off characters of varying body types.

In addition to being able to create bodies of varying styles, we've also begun work on the character customization via hair styles. Here's some work we did earlier this year to test out a couple hair styles. Note that as the work on tribes progresses, so too will the work on character customization. While we don't plan on enforcing individual hairstyles for different tribes, we do want them to tend toward a specific cultural norm. of course, like all of CoE, the players have the ability to change that norm over time.

Equipment & Clothing

Another key mechanic we've been working on the first half of this year is the equipment and clothing systems. Chronicles of Elyria uses a different equipment system than is used in most MMORPGs. From a strict, character customization and equipment standpoint, CoE uses a unique layering system where each layer is designed to address a different survival mechanic. The base layer is generally for homeostasis, the second layer is generally for protection from the environment, and the third layer is either protection from exposure, or protection from combat.

Beyond that, CoE adheres to an older school of thought, where the equipment you wear effects your overall survivability, but doesn't have a huge impact on you as a character. For example, equipping a sword or armor doesn't make you stronger, or more agile. Those are character attributes that are independent from the equipment you wear. Putting it in terms of traditional game mechanics, you won't find any +200 Str items. Indeed, you won't find any +Str items. You want to get stronger, you have to work for it.

That said, you might find weapons that are sharper, are more durable, are resistant to rust, are more flexible, are toxic, etc. And yes, you'll occasionally find items which are artifacts or relics, which bestow the user with some magical properties. However, these still don't affect the character directly, and are generally very situational.

As a result, the specific clothing and armor you wear in CoE is largely aesthetic, and is about building up the persona you want. In order for that to be truly effective, it needs to be as customizable as possible. To that end, The Proto-Tailors here at Soulbound Studios has been working on what we believe is the most comprehensive and customizable crafting system to date. You can see the variety of styles, patterns, and fabrics in some of the animations below. And note, while we've started with the equipment system, virtually all of the objects in CoE will incorporate some degree of customization, with literally every item in CoE being craftable.


These dirty shirts could use a good scrubbing







Dynamic Environments

The last thing our content team has been focusing on the first half of this year is various biomes and the dynamic nature of the world. While we showed off a bit of our dynamic weather system last year we continued to make improvements to the system this year. You can see some concepts below of what a settlement might look like under various lighting and weather conditions. Beneath that, you can see where we are with the dynamic snow accumulation system today. As we move into the next phase of development, the environment team will begin building out the various biomes of Elyria, with screenshots and video being presented as we make progress.







Soulborn Engine / ElyriaMUD

The final thing I wanted to focus on during this look back over the last six months is the Order of Online Play. While we initially started the studio with a single client programmer - which necessitated we begin work on CoE from the client-side - over the last six months we've filled the studio with three new server programmers. This has allowed us to take Chronicles of Elyria from a single-player, offline demo, into a true, multi-player online world.

When playing a multi-player online world, there is obviously communication between the client and server. But as our servers are fully authoritative, it doesn't really matter what our client is or looks like. When developing our back-end systems we can pretend we're talking to our Unreal client, or a completely different, web-based client. For that reason, we set off to begin development on ElyriaMUD - a 3D, graphical version of Chronicles of Elyria constructed entirely with voxels, and built entirely on web-based technologies. A few months ago we released these mood board pictures to our exclusive backers. Let me share it with the rest of you now so you can get an idea of what our visual target is for ElyriaMUD.


ElyriaMUD Mood Board

And of course, more recently we shared with you all the render of the ElyriaMUD characters. You can see those again here:


While those screenshots are pretty to look at, the benefits to us in having ElyriaMUD cannot be overstated. To begin with, developing the back-end workers and gameplay mechanics of Chronicles of Elyria against a light-weight, voxel based client means we can develop and test our mechanics in the absence of fancy animations, graphics, or user interfaces. This speeds up development of core mechanics A TON. And, with the way the server is sitting now, this will allow us to roll out new mechanics faster than anyone has seen before, and way faster than people anticipate.

But to make ElyriaMUD and CoE possible, a ton of back-end work has already been done over the last six months to the Soulborn Engine to get it talking across the wire, and more will be done throughout the rest of the year. While SpatialOS solves the problem of scalability, there's still a ton of systems which aren't spatial in nature and won't be using SpatialOS. Even among the systems that will use SpatialOS there are a lot of core features which must go in place before you can really call something an MMORPG. That's one of the main reasons why we haven't had a lot of new client-side gameplay to show over the last 3-6 months. Virtually all of our engineering resources have gone to back-end infrastructure in the Soulborn Engine, and allowing our server to talk to a client.

Of course, one of the key benefits of developing our server the way we have is it no longer cares what client it's talking to. In fact, it's possible to have multiple, completely different clients all talking to our server at the same time, and seeing a shared, universal state across all of them.

For example, we can have ElyriaMUD and Chronicles of Elyria both talking to the server at the same time. It looks something like this:


A side-by-side view of Chronicles of Elyria in both the Unreal Client, and the ElyriaMUD client

Taking Stock

That wraps up the stuff we've done over the last six months. I hope your takeaway is that things are moving along great, and we're extremely happy with the progress. That said, I think many of you want a clearer picture of where we are in the overall timeline, and by how much we've been off on our estimates.

The truth is, our estimates were pretty accurate. However, as you'll soon see, there's a difference between timelines and schedules, it's possible to be accurate with one, while the other drifts apart.

Timeline vs. Schedules

Before we jump in and take a look at the new, estimated schedule of development I wanted to take a moment and talk briefly about timelines vs. schedules.

In project management, the key difference between a timeline and a schedule is the presence of dates. When talking about a timeline we're generally focused on the order in which events will occur, and the relative work involved, in man-hours, man-weeks, etc., of completing some set of tasks.

Because timelines focus on concepts such as order, priority, and time, they tend to change less often and are more reliable than schedules. With that said, they do sometimes change due to outside influences and either way, a thoughtful, carefully planned timeline is essential to having any kind of believable schedule.

On the other hand, schedules are created when you take a timeline and lay it over a calendar. Once you incorporate vacations and sick-leave, weekends, holidays, etc. you're able to create a rough approximation of when things will be worked on and when things are likely to be completed. But because unplanned events are still prone to occur, schedules are always more unreliable than timelines.

I say this so that as we take a look at the new approximate schedule you understand that what we're showing is still prone to change. Furthermore, aside from a few key alterations we're making now, while our schedule has shifted from our original predictions, our timeline generally hasn't.

We always predicted about 6-9 months of early, pre-alpha development, and about 12 months of active development focused on the various game-mechanics. For the most part, we're right in line with our timeline. We started focusing on core server work about 7 months ago, and are now moving into gameplay mechanics. Unfortunately, while our timeline has been fairly accurate, our schedule has slipped.

You see, when we first launched our Kickstarter last May and gave our estimates of an 18-month development cycle, we made two invalid assumptions.

First, we assumed that we'd be able to lock ourselves away and quietly go about development while the community patiently waited. Heh. Nope. We've got an extremely enthusiastic, extremely passionate community that demands nothing but the best player experience possible. We love it, and wouldn't have it any other way! But... keeping engaged with the community, and working to ensure a positive player-experience takes time and resources. Time and resources we didn't account for.

Second, we wrongly assumed that having a kick-ass game design, a rock-solid team of core employees, and a successful Kickstarter under our belt would immediately draw in world-renowned talent. Again, nope. While we have slowly drawn in the best talent we could hope to work with, it's taken time - primarily in recruiting our engineers. We continued to have only a single engineer from May until December of 2016. That had a huge impact on our ability to maintain our intended development schedule.

In effect, we began a relay race with no runners on the track. Then, at some point after the race started, people slowly began to step onto the track with our pennant on and immediately hauled ass to where the next person should be. At first, there was nobody there and so our engineers were forced to do a second lap, but as time has gone on and we've gained in credibility, more runners have joined our team and now we're starting to catch up. We have a team of rockstars, but no matter how fast they are, they simply won't be able to close the gap in the time we've lost.

In short, while we're actually right where we should be, we're obviously not when we'd like to be. Let's take a look at the new estimated schedule.

Estimated schedule of development

As I mentioned at the beginning of this State of Elyria, we went from a point of giving precise dates on internal milestones to not even providing information about which year we expected the game to ship in. That was obviously a radical shift in transparency, a mistake, and something we intend to remedy now.

That said, I don't think players expect or really even want exact dates at this point. In fact, I'm not certain our backers want to know when work will be completed. I think more than anything what they want to see is a clear sense of progress and an idea of what we're working on at any given time.

To that end, below is an approximate schedule - not of when we expect the work to be complete - but when we expect to be under active development toward a particular deliverable or milestone. Providing a timeline in this format allows us to have an open, transparent, candid conversation about what and when we're working on something, while still giving us the freedom to make changes sprint-to-sprint and change the dates of our internal milestones to suit our development needs.

For easy reading Q3, and Q4 means "Quarter 3 and Quarter 4." T1, T2, and T3 means "trimester 1, 2, or 3," and implies a 4-month window. S1 and S2 means "semester 1 or 2" and implies a six-month window of time.

  1. V3 of the Website (Q3 2017)
  2. ElyriaMUD (Q4 2017)
  3. Alpha 1 (T1 2018)
  4. Server Selection (T1 2018)
  5. Settlement / Domain Selection (T2 2018)
  6. KoE (T2 2018)
  7. Design Experiences (T3 2018)
  8. Alpha 2 (T3 2018)
  9. Beta 1 (S1 2019)
  10. Prologue & CoE Adventure Toolkit (S1 2019)
  11. Exposition (S1 2019)
  12. Beta 2 (S1/S2 2019)
  13. Stress Test (Any paid account)(S2 2019)
  14. Launch (S2 2019)

Cone of Uncertainty

Now that you've seen the new, revised timeline I wanted to take a quick moment and talk about the "Cone of Uncertainty." The Cone of Uncertainty is a project management phenomenon typically described as a graph which can be seen here.

Cone of Uncertainty

What this graph means is that the further you are from achieving some kind of task the harder it is to predict with any accuracy the date, quality, or cost of completing the task or project and the higher the variance.

Put differently, if I were realistically one day from completing a task I'd be able to say with a high degree of certainty that the task will be completed "tomorrow." On the other hand, if I were a year from completing a task, it would be extremely difficult to say with any sort of confidence the precise date the task would be completed on. To have any sort of confidence in my estimate I'd have to provide a date with a high degree of variance; say, "some time within this 30-day period."

This is a natural phenomenon and is a result of uncertainty and unknowns, and the acceptance of chaos in the universe. People get sick, people go on unplanned emergency trips, people get stuck at the airport overseas, features take longer to nail down than anticipated, etc. In short, life is unpredictable and attempts at predicting with any certainty when something will happen years, months, or even weeks out is generally unreliable.

As a result, when looking at our updated timeline you'll notice that the further out an event is planned on the timeline, the less accurate the date range. Don't be alarmed, that's just accounting for the Cone of Uncertainty.

Things which are supposed to happen within the next six months are expected to be accurate to within a three month period of time. Things further out become less accurate, first to four months, and then to six months. Again, these are just estimates of when we'll be working on things, but we believe they serve to provide you context on what/when we'll be working on things.

Changes to the Timeline

The next thing I wanted to address was a few key changes to the order of events in our expanded timeline. Specifically, if you look carefully you'll notice there there is:

  • A postponement of the release of the Prologue
  • A splitting of ElyriaMUD and KoE
  • A postponement in Domain/Settlement Selection

Let's talk about each a bit.

Delay of Prologue
The first topic I wanted to address is the delay of Prologue. When we first started CoE we intended to use the Prologue as both an introduction to the lore and story of the game, as well as a way to get player feedback on the client-side mechanics of the game. That is, how does the game feel. The idea was for the Prologue to include some of the crafting professions, some of the combat mechanics, a small sample area, and the ability to craft, fight, move around, equip/unequip things, open your inventory and paper-doll, etc. Basically, a small sample-set of everything that doesn't really require a network connection to validate.

Well, there were a few problems with that plan.

  1. The combination of lore/story, and game-play mechanics means we're simultaneously working on curated, hand-crafted content as we're working on procedural, dynamic world-building systems. This is counter-productive and requires a huge amount of content team resources when we should be relying on our procedural systems.
  2. Because the Prologue was intended to be so early in development, it limits the number of crafting skills, combat mechanics, and professions that would be testable.
  3. Because Prologue was early in development, by the time the game was ready to launch, the lore/story would no longer be fresh in peoples' minds, which lowers anticipation and excitement for launch day.
  4. All the things we wanted to test with Prologue, can also be tested in Alpha 1, as that provides an even more accurate assessment, as it includes latency and other online artifacts.

For the above reasons, we've decided to postpone the Prologue until closer to launch, just before Exposition and Beta. But that comes with benefits as well. It means there will be more content available for people to experience in the Prologue, it'll provide more build-up to launch, and most importantly - we'll already have our world-building systems and architecture tools in place.

So we've decided to not only change the timing of the Prologue, but also release a purchasable add-on to the Prologue called the CoE Adventure Toolkit. While the Prologue itself will be free to download and play as a solo experience, those who are interested can purchase the add-on to build buildings and structures, generate and layout settlements, dungeons, quests, adventures, and more. Those creations can then be shared with the community and played-through with maybe 5-10 friends. We're not sure which approach we're going to take yet, but this will either be run as a locally-hosted version of a mini-CoE Game Server, or deployed to our cloud.

But whichever approach we take, this will allow you to - before the launch of Chronicles of Elyria - create your own unique quests and adventures, and invite players onto your server to experience the adventures you've created. Additional content SBS creates will be made available to purchase as content packs so you can continue to expand your adventures with more creatures, animals, and environments.

We'll have more information about the CoE Adventure Toolkit and game servers in 2018.

Splitting of ElyriaMUD & KoE
Another change we're making to the timeline is the splitting of ElyriaMUD and Kingdoms of Elyria. Before, the two pre-alpha experiences were planned to launch as close in proximity as possible. However, as time has gone on we've realized that the features that make up ElyriaMUD will be available well in advance of those required for KoE, and we don't want to delay the launch of ElyriaMUD for the benefit of KoE. Furthermore, only the features of ElyriaMUD are required for Alpha 1. By separating the two it allows us to release Alpha 1 to the community as quickly as possible, which is desirable with the postponement of the Prologue.

In addition, we can confirm that both ElyriaMUD and Kingdoms of Elyria will use the same client and servers, with only the addition of new UI/UX and additional game mechanics being added between the two. So the experience will be the same for everyone, with the Nobility and Aristocracy getting additional screens and user input modes.

Delay of Domain/Settlement Selection
Continuing on from the previous section, the separation of ElyriaMUD from KoE gives us another unique opportunity. Settlement / Domain selection is only really necessary for Kingdoms of Elyria. It isn't necessary for ElyriaMUD. So instead of having Selection happen BEFORE ElyriaMUD, we're going to put it after.

Why? This gives all paid backers an opportunity to jump into ElyriaMUD at some point before selection and test out the game mechanics, and experience the different tribes and biomes first-hand before having to make a decision about which biome they ultimately want to play in. It also allows players to build up a larger social network before Kingdoms of Elyria, not to mention test your ping to the server you intend to play on!

To do that though, we also need to re-target the goal of ElyriaMUD. The events in ElyriaMUD for the period of time before Kingdoms of Elyria is released will not be persistent. Players will be able to play whatever character they want, in whatever family they want, anywhere on the continent. It'll all be wiped before KoE. We will also likely take the server up and down periodically and move it to different regions of the globe. While it won't help with combat-latency, it'll also give us a better idea of the type of latency and ping issues we'll experience at an earlier date.

All-in-all, this means players will get access to ElyriaMUD and Alpha 1 quicker, and will have more information and have built a larger social network before having to jump into Domain and Settlement Selection.

Looking Forward

While we've already taken a look at the long-term schedule of Chronicles of Elyria, I wanted to use this final section of the State of Elyria to talk more about the features of Chronicles of Elyria, the way we'll be presenting information to you all going forward, and what we'll be working on in the immediate future.

The Features of Chronicles of Elyria

One of the things we've come to understand as we've interacted with the community over the last six months is the importance of managing the expectations of the community. It's very easy, in the absence of concrete information, for the imaginations of players to run wild. Unfortunately, imagination soon becomes whispers, whispers become rumors, rumors become fact, and then two years from now we'll be finishing up CoE to the disappointment of all as we reveal that we don't have spaceships, steampunk blimps, terraforming, or the ability to re-route rivers.

So I wanted to, at this point in development, share with you a condensed form of our feature list. Please understand, this isn't everything. The actual spreadsheet of CoE's individual features is significantly longer. This is a condensed version which is intended to give you a good idea, with some application of logic, of what the game encompasses. If you're concerned from looking at this list that something was cut, it wasn't. If we advertised something previously in our kickstarter video, a Q&A, or a design journal, it's still in. We may have simply moved it under a higher level feature, which as a result causes it not to be listed here. One final note, many of the items in the list may not make sense. I have no intention of explaining every single one. But, in the spirit of transparency, here's the list.

  • Locks & Keys
  • Object Keys
  • Shared Married Inventory Access
  • Item/Container Permissions
  • Space Permissions / Taboo Areas
  • Traps
  • Achievements
  • Achievement Tracking
  • Achievement Rewards
  • Artifacts
  • Past-Life Achievements
  • Animal Pathfinding
  • Animal Combat
  • Pack Behaviors
  • Individual Animal Behaviors
  • Animal Needs
  • Animal Reproduction
  • Animal Aggression
  • NPC Pathfinding
  • NPC Combat
  • NPC Needs
  • NPC Personalities
  • NPC Memory
  • OPCs
  • Character Creation
  • Wards of the State
  • NTCs
  • Character Attributes
  • Character Traits
  • Body Dynamics
  • Weapon Sets
  • Combat Stances
  • Combat Techniques
  • Melee Combat Mechanics
  • Ranged Combat
  • Thrown / Improvised Weapons
  • Armor Damage Reduction
  • Equipment Wear & Tear
  • Equipment Durability
  • Status Effects
  • Languages
  • Gestures / Emotes
  • Paired Emotes
  • Proximity Text Chat
  • Friends List
  • Tells
  • Family Chat
  • Chat Channels
  • Party Chat
  • Implicit Contracts
  • Explicit Contracts
  • Object / Item Contracts
  • Map & Region Contracts
  • Contract Clauses, Conjunctions, Remuneration, Rights, Responsibilities and Signatures
  • Contract Plurality
  • Contract Creation
  • Contract Progress Tracking
  • Crafting of small objects
  • Recipes & Patterns
  • Resources & Materials
  • Gathering
  • Recycling
  • Alterations and Adornments
  • Blueprints
  • Crafting Stations
  • Crafting Tools
  • Minting
  • Equipment Customization
  • Crimes
  • Bounties & Bounty Tokens
  • Criminal Escorts
  • Tribunals & Judges
  • Prison / Spirit-Loss
  • Trade
  • Live Auctions
  • Shops & Consignment
  • Animal Aging & Dying
  • Harvesting
  • Seed Collection
  • Pollination
  • Germination
  • Growing / Maintenance
  • Growth / Reproduction Rates
  • Herding
  • Breeding
  • Domestication
  • Taming / Breaking
  • Animal Controlling / Commanding
  • Pet Survival
  • Day / Night Cycle
  • Weather Patterns
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Seasons
  • Weather Effects
  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Hail
  • Sandstorms
  • Lightning
  • Fog
  • Caustic / Acid Rain
  • Water Tables
  • Watersheds
  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Puddles
  • Decomposition
  • Spoiling / Expiration
  • Fermentation
  • Rust
  • Structural Wear & Tear
  • Wearable Equipment
  • Wieldable Items
  • Family Names
  • Family Crests
  • Heirs & Inheritance
  • Sensing Death
  • Bolstering
  • Dynasties
  • Marriage
  • Spouse & Child Locking
  • Domain Management
  • Border Disputes
  • Claims & Casus Belli
  • Revolution
  • Line of Succession
  • Laws
  • Titles
  • Vassals / Fealty
  • Approval Rates
  • Services
  • Taxes
  • Knighthood
  • Housing & Structure Blueprints
  • Architecture Tool
  • Rooms
  • Identification Papers
  • Forgery
  • Names & Introductions
  • Name Changes
  • Anonymity
  • Disguises
  • Gossip
  • Witnesses & Evidence
  • Opinion Indicators
  • Criminal Status
  • Bags & Containers
  • Searching & Looting
  • Stackable Items
  • Party Contracts & Looting
  • Parcels of Land
  • Zoning
  • Land Purchase
  • Leasing
  • Property Taxes
  • Adverse Possession
  • Squatting
  • Incapacitation
  • Grievous Wounds / Spirit Walking
  • Death Tolls
  • Bloodlust
  • Soul Binding
  • Stand Movement
  • Advanced Movement
  • Contextual Movement
  • Impaired Movement
  • Paths & Roads
  • Footprints & Tracking
  • Magick & Rituals
  • Religion
  • Maps & Cartography
  • Navigation & Triangulation
  • Organization Member Management
  • Organization Ranks & Titles
  • Permissions
  • Access Restrictions
  • Organization Bonuses
  • Exclusive Knowledge
  • Dissolution
  • Bylaws
  • Guilds
  • Schools
  • Associations / Non-Profits
  • Physics
  • Procreation Requirements
  • Child Contracts
  • Progeny Options
  • Research & Technology
  • Organization Perks
  • Sieging & Building Damage
  • Destruction & Structural Collapse
  • Fire
  • Siege Weapons
  • Settlement Types & Requirements
  • Orphanages
  • Inns
  • Taverns / Pubs
  • Building Bonuses
  • Settlement Leadership
  • Settlement Dissolution
  • Mobile Settlements
  • Skill Types
  • Skill Checks
  • Improving Attributes
  • Skill Progression
  • Skill Atrophy
  • Teaching
  • Body Dynamics
  • Dynamic Story Engine
  • Soulmates
  • Soul Affinity
  • Story Points
  • Dramatic Situations
  • Player Destiny
  • Natural Disasters
  • Storyfinding
  • Talents
  • Relics
  • Consumables
  • Genetic Predispositions
  • Vitality & Energy
  • Metabolic Rates
  • Homeostasis
  • Hunger / Thirst
  • Auto-food consumption
  • Fatigue
  • Wounds / Breaks
  • Poisons
  • Venoms
  • Diseases
  • Mounts
  • Vehicles
  • Caverns & Caves
  • Tunneling
  • Examining
  • Pickup / Put-down
  • Toss
  • Drop
  • Activate
  • Item-World Interaction
  • Item-Item Interaction
  • Moving & Dragging
  • Sitting Put-down
  • Artifact Identification
  • Relic Identification

Adventuring Parties

Back at the end of June Vye made a blog post titled "What Seams to Be", in which she mentioned the end of updates as we know them. This was in preparation for a change we've been planning, to both the rate at which we release information, as well as the format in which we release them.

In specific, in her post she talked about how instead of a single, bi-weekly production update we would be moving to a system of having several different types of blog posts. In particular, we'd have design journals, production journals, community journals, and Soulbound Studios broadcasts. Well, I wanted to dive in and provide more details.

In a meeting with Kaizen, Vye, and myself, we discussed how our system of doing epics (aka quests) as an adventuring party would also translate well into a system of doing outward facing communication. Instead of just telling you about how things are progressing with the parties, we could provide insight into the entire party life-cycle process. This would range from the formation and retrospective of the parties, to a format of the functional design document we create at the beginning of each quest, and including the production updates we'd done previously.

So going forward, we're planning to use a system that looks something like this:

Step 1: Kaizen posts a public-facing version of our functional spec or design document. This would provide you with insight into our ambitions for a specific mechanic, and details about the upcoming features the party would be working on. It would identify the name of the party, as well as its members.

Step 2: We do a live Q&A about the party. This'll give you an opportunity to ask clarifying questions about the work the party will be doing, as well as any details you might have about the feature work.

Step 3: We provide one or more production updates, depending on the time it takes for the party to complete their work. This would likely include concept art, screenshots, animations & videos, or anything else that helps show off the progress we've been making.

Step 4: We release a final or close-to-final feature video showing off the completed work.

Step 5: We film a retrospective where we discussed the challenges we encountered as a party while working on the feature sets.

The reason I like this model in particular is it provides a bit of orientation with respect to where we are within the current development cycle. Paired with the overall timeline I posted previously, you should be able to easily track the progression of the work we're doing, simply by watching the creation and completion of adventuring parties. It'll also give a much better view of exactly what the studio is working on at any given time. You'll know what features we're working on for the current deliverable, and what deliverables we're progressing on for the current milestone.

Upcoming Q3 and Q4 feature work

And speaking of new adventuring parties... we just created a brand new one! Well, several actually. But we may or may not present them to you as separate parties. You see, with PAX West coming up in just about five weeks, it's once again time for us to buckle down and put some spit & polish on the game. However, as we identified previously, we always aim to focus on a single experience for PAX, which often requires the involvement of the entire company. So, over the next five weeks, our focus as a studio is laser focused on (aside from the V3 website) a single deliverable: The PAX West 2017 Experience.

While we've already got our functional spec written and our parties are already established, Kaizen and I haven't had a chance to put it in a format that is easily consumable. So expect that some time next week, with a Q&A following shortly after that. In spite of us not having the write-up to you yet, we have already begun work on the PAX West experience. So... the Outreach team agreed to allow me to give you a sneak peek of what the PAX West 2017 experience will be about. Enjoy!



Sneak Peek at the PAX West 2017 Experience

ElyriaMUD
We've come to the end of the line. We've already done a look back at the past six months and shown the complete list of features for CoE. We've given an updated schedule of development, and we've even given a teaser on what the next five weeks looks like for Soulbound Studios. What could we end with that could possibly add more value?

Easy - what we'll be doing in Quarter 4 of 2017! As we talked about earlier, the first six months of 2017 has been largely focused on laying down a plethora of functional ground-work, mostly focused on the back-end system which, while not visually interesting, is extremely important to our overall development workflow. If you look back at our projected timeline you'll see that the focus of Q4 is going to be on ElyriaMUD. The time will have come for us to put aside the core systems and begin heavily focusing on the exciting gameplay mechanics listed in the (admittedly) overwhelming list of features I provided above.

That's going to be an exciting time for everyone. We'll be seeing progress happening at the speed of light, and you'll finally get experience the capability of this fully armed and operational battle studio! The team is already chomping at the bit. We know we've got to focus on PAX West for the next few weeks, but the groundwork for ElyriaMUD is already in place. In fact, here's a video Kaizen pulled together of the folks here at Soulbound Studios having some fun in ElyriaMUD.


Roaming around ElyriaMUD, a Chronicles of Elyria Pre-Alpha Experience

Conclusion

Over the course of the last six months I've gotten the unique opportunity to work with an extremely talented team of developers who've made my passion their passion. And furthermore, I've had the opportunity to see a dream I've held and nurtured for the better part of the last 17 years become the dream of so many. As I see the passionate debates in our Discord channel and the, ahem, "spirited" posts on our forums, it's clear to not only me, but the entire studio, that Chronicles of Elyria has become a dream for you all as well.

With that in mind, continue to build the dream with us! Continue to give us your kind words of support and your reminders to get some sleep and to take care of ourselves, as your tender words of encouragement go a long way toward motivating the team through an often daunting and overwhelming task list. But whatever you do, do not give up on the dream. Continue to be patient and supportive and, before long we'll all be hanging out in ElyriaMUD and then Alpha 1.

Pledged to the Continued Advancement of the Soulborn Engine and the Chronicling of Elyria,

Caspian

Discuss

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Quzzar - 2 months ago

This game seems super awesome. Just found out about it, wish I had discovered it sooner / been apart of the Kickstarter. What you guys have done already looks so promising, super impressed. I'll be checking up frequently on you guys! I'm super excited to see what becomes of this! - Quzzar, Elyrian

Razcsi - 2 months ago

One question

I need to play with the game often if i don't want to lose my title But what if i play in the Alpha 2 or something? In the Aplha 2 if i'm not play often, i will lose my title like when the game is launched and ready? :D

Count_Emiya - 2 months ago
@Razcsi:

Posted By Razcsi at 8/4/2017 12:49:10 AM

One question

I need to play with the game often if i don't want to lose my title But what if i play in the Alpha 2 or something? In the Aplha 2 if i'm not play often, i will lose my title like when the game is launched and ready? :D

No... what?

Tinarius - 2 months ago

Yeah, sure, I'm a troll. Easy response.

Let's play a game of simple math and facts.

By his own admission, SoulBound has a MINIMUM of 246 features to implement. Also by his own admission, they will launch in about a year and a half. That's about 550 calendar days or 390 work days.

That leaves about 1.5 days to implement, test and polish each feature.

Oddly enough, they've been in development just about the same amount of time so far and Caspian has gushed about the endless amounts of work being done. How many features can we check off that list from all that work?

The math doesn't add up.

StaalBurgher - 2 months ago
@Tinarius:

Get. A. LIfe. Bro

DaveKachel - 2 months ago
@Tinarius:

I think you got a point.

But I have to say, your maths are incorrect.

You calculated WDAYS / FEATURES = DOANDTEST

Seems correct? It is calculated with one worker and no combinated features. The function should look like this:

WDAYS / (FEATURES - COMBO) * WORKERS = DOANDTEST

Some features are very fimiliar, so you take them in one shot. Okay they are rare but we have to take note of this. Deal? And now you got a team of 16 people. Count every developer of them. I dont have numbers, but the post said something about 3 new and 1 old. Lets take this for now and cut 8 features to combinable parents.

390 / ( 246 - 8 ) * 4 = 6.5 Roughly a week per feature. Still not the glamour. You could set a with 550 possible days. Boost this example to 9 days. They got 6 up to 9 days per feature. If they manage to get more parallel working, means more developers, you become more and more time each feature.

Sry I'm an mathematician. I had to take care of this. In the upshot, I hope CoE becomes a brilliant game. Every year they need more, is a year more of me not captured 10 years in this game XD

Tinarius - 2 months ago
@DaveKachel:

Posted By DaveKachel at 06:53 AM - Thu Aug 03 2017

I think you got a point.

But I have to say, your maths are incorrect.

You calculated WDAYS / FEATURES = DOANDTEST

Seems correct? It is calculated with one worker and no combinated features. The function should look like this:

WDAYS / (FEATURES - COMBO) * WORKERS = DOANDTEST

Some features are very fimiliar, so you take them in one shot. Okay they are rare but we have to take note of this. Deal? And now you got a team of 16 people. Count every developer of them. I dont have numbers, but the post said something about 3 new and 1 old. Lets take this for now and cut 8 features to combinable parents.

390 / ( 246 - 8 ) * 4 = 6.5 Roughly a week per feature. Still not the glamour. You could set a with 550 possible days. Boost this example to 9 days. They got 6 up to 9 days per feature. If they manage to get more parallel working, means more developers, you become more and more time each feature.

Sry I'm an mathematician. I had to take care of this. In the upshot, I hope CoE becomes a brilliant game. Every year they need more, is a year more of me not captured 10 years in this game XD

Thanks for expanding on this. I'm happy to stand corrected but even with your more encompassing math, 6-9 days per feature set? Not going to happen. Not even in the studios filled with the best industry vets money could buy. This is all painfully obvious by just looking at the timelines of Crowfall, SoTA and Camelot Unchained.

The good news is if they can pull this off, we should see them showcasing an average of 3-5 features fully fleshed out, tested and polished with the monthly dev journals.

GoddessAthenaV - 2 months ago

So there's one area that wasn't mentioned in the features list, that I've been curious about for a while. For the NPCs, you have pathfinding, combat, needs, personalities, and memory all listed. But how will players interact with NPCs? Will you have dialogue trees? Conversational AI?

Ranea - 2 months ago
@GoddessAthenaV:

Posted By GoddessAthenaV at 7:32 PM - Wed Aug 02 2017

So there's one area that wasn't mentioned in the features list, that I've been curious about for a while. For the NPCs, you have pathfinding, combat, needs, personalities, and memory all listed. But how will players interact with NPCs? Will you have dialogue trees? Conversational AI?

I don't know if it will be important for the npcs to have a great AI I say that only because the game should get everyone that plays to start roleplaying and creating stories from the base story already given. However if they did promise like unique npcs that feel like real players then ignore everything I said xD but if not then I think the npcs don't need a lot to them if the players properly give attention to the role playing aspect of the game, if they do you will not be worried about the npcs.

acewin - 2 months ago

Will "GM" created adventures be used in the game?

This sounds cool and would be awesome in and of itself BUT.....

If used in game it sounds like getting payed by your employees...

Not that its not brilliant from a business perspective,,,

HoDo - 2 months ago

Caspian returning the flow to the rivers of transparency :) Hype upgraded ^^ ( + MUD cmng soon ! )

Keep that line :D

Much appreciated.

HoDo. Catalunya, Europe.

Abuncha_nada - 2 months ago

I would still love to hear more about the sound and music of CoE. They are such integral parts of the game!

Tinarius - 2 months ago

On May 23, 2016 I posted my doubts about the validity of this project which ultimately led to Caspian's response:


Q: The stated timeline of end of 2017 for FULL RELEASE is not a realistic one. Not even close.

A: Noted. I'm curious, however, what you're basing that on? Is it based on your development experience? Your insider knowledge into what business deals we've been working on? Have you peeked at our Gantt chart? Maybe you feel like using purchased assets from the Unreal Marketplace won't speed up development? Could it be you know that our choice of programming language for the server will slow down development? Anything? You got anything to substantiate your claim?


View the thread here:

https://chroniclesofelyria.com/forum/topic/7030/no-longer-backing-coe?page=1

Either the original estimate was hopelessly wrong because Caspian had no clue what he was doing, or else he knew full well it was wrong but straight-up lied. There is no other answer.

I also find this interesting from the blog:


We continued to have only a single engineer from May until December of 2016


but on their KS page:


We have an established team of 16 people, funded from CEO, Jeromy Walsh’s, own money for the last year.


So Caspian you had a team of 16 people to build a MMO, the most complex type of game, and you had one engineer? You were PAYING for 16 people and only ONE was an engineer?

He has $3M and just doubled the timeline of the project and now they are starting to monetize on what was previously free stuff which tells me Caspian is already looking for more money. What happened to that $500K investor you had waiting in the wings Caspian? From the KS:


We also realize that to effectively complete all of these amazing ideas will require a lot of cash. That's why we've invested half a million dollars to self-fund pre-production thus far and have another $500K committed from investors.


I'm still scratching my head that they went to PAX spending all that money on publicity when Caspian had to know how off schedule they were.

And now here he is spinning shit again, throwing every possible pretty graphic he can at you (most he's already shown) to sway your opinion before he delivers the bad news of the schedule slip. Well it's less of a slip and more of a massive move to another country. Oh and the bit about how he has learned that SpatialOS doesn't feed us and wipe our asses after all and there is still work to be done to get it going. I sense a pattern of deflection. Shit I pointed out way back but I was met with negativity and Caspian basically telling me to fuck off.

So here we are a little under a year and a half from CoE's Kickstarter and we have seen very little functionality. Lots of pretty stuff but very little nuts and bolts. He posts the massive list of 246 features that CoE is suppose to have for launch (that's one feature every 2 days) and tells us it'll come in about .......... wait for it ......... a year and a half.

I'm detecting another pattern......

Ranea - 2 months ago
@Tinarius:

Posted By Tinarius at 04:16 AM - Tue Aug 01 2017

On May 23, 2016 I posted my doubts about the validity of this project which ultimately led to Caspian's response:


Q: The stated timeline of end of 2017 for FULL RELEASE is not a realistic one. Not even close.

A: Noted. I'm curious, however, what you're basing that on? Is it based on your development experience? Your insider knowledge into what business deals we've been working on? Have you peeked at our Gantt chart? Maybe you feel like using purchased assets from the Unreal Marketplace won't speed up development? Could it be you know that our choice of programming language for the server will slow down development? Anything? You got anything to substantiate your claim?


View the thread here:

https://chroniclesofelyria.com/forum/topic/7030/no-longer-backing-coe?page=1

Either the original estimate was hopelessly wrong because Caspian had no clue what he was doing, or else he knew full well it was wrong but straight-up lied. There is no other answer.

I also find this interesting from the blog:


We continued to have only a single engineer from May until December of 2016


but on their KS page:


We have an established team of 16 people, funded from CEO, Jeromy Walsh’s, own money for the last year.


So Caspian you had a team of 16 people to build a MMO, the most complex type of game, and you had one engineer? You were PAYING for 16 people and only ONE was an engineer?

He has $3M and just doubled the timeline of the project and now they are starting to monetize on what was previously free stuff which tells me Caspian is already looking for more money. What happened to that $500K investor you had waiting in the wings Caspian? From the KS:


We also realize that to effectively complete all of these amazing ideas will require a lot of cash. That's why we've invested half a million dollars to self-fund pre-production thus far and have another $500K committed from investors.


I'm still scratching my head that they went to PAX spending all that money on publicity when Caspian had to know how off schedule they were.

And now here he is spinning shit again, throwing every possible pretty graphic he can at you (most he's already shown) to sway your opinion before he delivers the bad news of the schedule slip. Well it's less of a slip and more of a massive move to another country. Oh and the bit about how he has learned that SpatialOS doesn't feed us and wipe our asses after all and there is still work to be done to get it going. I sense a pattern of deflection. Shit I pointed out way back but I was met with negativity and Caspian basically telling me to fuck off.

So here we are a little under a year and a half from CoE's Kickstarter and we have seen very little functionality. Lots of pretty stuff but very little nuts and bolts. He posts the massive list of 246 features that CoE is suppose to have for launch (that's one feature every 2 days) and tells us it'll come in about .......... wait for it ......... a year and a half.

I'm detecting another pattern......

as much as I don't want to I kind of agree with you and this is to no insult on the developers but this is a truly complex game truly truly truly complex. I heard that this game was being released in 2017 when I was watching a top 10 2017 mmorpgs to look forward to, but now I find out it is not even really that close to being done.. I am worried that in attempt to keep people's hype about the game that it is being presented in such a way to make people not to loose interest. Though I don't understand why it is necessary. now that you already know of the potential amount of players you guys got from a game that's not even close to out, you should feel a bit more confident that on release and with proper tactful advertising that the player base will be a lot. I honestly feel don't worry about giving dates on releases that is completely unnecessary and no matter how many times some people spam about that "it is ok take your time!" there will be disappointment and even for some maybe a tad bit of resentment. Just keep showing progress but stop trying to give dates. I suggest giving a date when you are FOR SURE it will be finished and released within the year that will give people ample enough time to get hyped again.

Count_Emiya - 2 months ago
@Tinarius:

Posted By Tinarius at 03:16 AM - Tue Aug 01 2017

On May 23, 2016 I posted my doubts about the validity of this project which ultimately led to Caspian's response:


Q: The stated timeline of end of 2017 for FULL RELEASE is not a realistic one. Not even close.

A: Noted. I'm curious, however, what you're basing that on? Is it based on your development experience? Your insider knowledge into what business deals we've been working on? Have you peeked at our Gantt chart? Maybe you feel like using purchased assets from the Unreal Marketplace won't speed up development? Could it be you know that our choice of programming language for the server will slow down development? Anything? You got anything to substantiate your claim?


View the thread here:

https://chroniclesofelyria.com/forum/topic/7030/no-longer-backing-coe?page=1

Either the original estimate was hopelessly wrong because Caspian had no clue what he was doing, or else he knew full well it was wrong but straight-up lied. There is no other answer.

I also find this interesting from the blog:


We continued to have only a single engineer from May until December of 2016


but on their KS page:


We have an established team of 16 people, funded from CEO, Jeromy Walsh’s, own money for the last year.


So Caspian you had a team of 16 people to build a MMO, the most complex type of game, and you had one engineer? You were PAYING for 16 people and only ONE was an engineer?

He has $3M and just doubled the timeline of the project and now they are starting to monetize on what was previously free stuff which tells me Caspian is already looking for more money. What happened to that $500K investor you had waiting in the wings Caspian? From the KS:


We also realize that to effectively complete all of these amazing ideas will require a lot of cash. That's why we've invested half a million dollars to self-fund pre-production thus far and have another $500K committed from investors.


I'm still scratching my head that they went to PAX spending all that money on publicity when Caspian had to know how off schedule they were.

And now here he is spinning shit again, throwing every possible pretty graphic he can at you (most he's already shown) to sway your opinion before he delivers the bad news of the schedule slip. Well it's less of a slip and more of a massive move to another country. Oh and the bit about how he has learned that SpatialOS doesn't feed us and wipe our asses after all and there is still work to be done to get it going. I sense a pattern of deflection. Shit I pointed out way back but I was met with negativity and Caspian basically telling me to fuck off.

Interesting cropping on that quote. Now I am sure you notice he set it up as a hypothetical, and was just pointing out that you were just being ridiculously critical with no backup for your claims and not that it was impossible. Then again you are a troll so I am not sure facts matter to you.

LilithMiao - 2 months ago
@Tinarius:

I have to agree with what you are saying, I have watched development of so many games over the 18 years I have been a gamer and ones that keep putting off like this usually just end up taking money and running. I really truly hope this game company is different because I so want to play this game. But I will hold off on giving any money until I see some actual progress. And I do not see the point in going to these PAX things, the time you spend putting some "spit and polish" on the game could be spent actually making the game.

Herdur - 2 months ago
@LilithMiao:

Going at PAX and to give people a try of the game, making new fans and new audience for the future game release, assuring a more wide player base and potentially new buyers to speed up the development. This doesn't sound like a "waste of time" to me

Simon - 2 months ago
@LilithMiao:

Posted By LilithMiao at 5:32 PM - Wed Aug 02 2017

I have to agree with what you are saying, I have watched development of so many games over the 18 years I have been a gamer and ones that keep putting off like this usually just end up taking money and running.

Which games are you referring to over those 18 years that took money and ran?

Games don't generally take money and run, so similar to the above question, which companies took the money and ran? Was Soulbound Studios one of those? To your knowledge, do any Soulbound Studios employees work for any of the companies that took money and ran?

I'm guessing not. So saying a statement like, "I've seen people do dumb shit in the past, so these developers may do dumb shit too" makes it seem like you're incapable of differentiating one group of people from another.

As an example, I once heard of a painter who changed careers to be a political leader and killed a bunch of people. Surely you're not implying all painters may eventually end up committing genocide?

I really truly hope this game company is different because I so want to play this game.

Really? Because you just created an account on the site to post your very first post expressing how you wouldn't recommend backers invest in the game. I don't see how "really hoping to play the game" and encouraging people not to pledge are consistent.

But I will hold off on giving any money until I see some actual progress.

How do you define actual progress? The creation of assets? The writing of game mechanics into code? A functioning multi-player game? A complete game? You have your definition of actual progress, and I have mine.

According to my definition, they're making tons of actual progress, and are showing it all to us. Which is why I put money into it. Also, because I believe they're the only people in the world trying to make this game. And I want them to succeed.

And I do not see the point in going to these PAX things, the time you spend putting some "spit and polish" on the game could be spent actually making the game.

Uh, why would you assume them taking time to make sure things look good, instead of just acceptable for internal development is time taken away from making the game? They'd have to spend the time to do it eventually anyways, why not do it now?

As to why they would spend time doing it? They're an indie studio, funded by the players. Since they have people like yourself discouraging others from supporting them, they need to get it int front of as many people as possible in a polished, playable fashion. So, you know, people can "see actual progress" up close and personal.

HammerStrike - 2 months ago
@Tinarius:

Posted By Tinarius at 04:16 AM - Tue Aug 01 2017

On May 23, 2016 I posted my doubts about the validity of this project which ultimately led to Caspian's response:


Q: The stated timeline of end of 2017 for FULL RELEASE is not a realistic one. Not even close.

A: Noted. I'm curious, however, what you're basing that on? Is it based on your development experience? Your insider knowledge into what business deals we've been working on? Have you peeked at our Gantt chart? Maybe you feel like using purchased assets from the Unreal Marketplace won't speed up development? Could it be you know that our choice of programming language for the server will slow down development? Anything? You got anything to substantiate your claim?


View the thread here:

https://chroniclesofelyria.com/forum/topic/7030/no-longer-backing-coe?page=1

Either the original estimate was hopelessly wrong because Caspian had no clue what he was doing, or else he knew full well it was wrong but straight-up lied. There is no other answer.

I also find this interesting from the blog:


We continued to have only a single engineer from May until December of 2016


but on their KS page:


We have an established team of 16 people, funded from CEO, Jeromy Walsh’s, own money for the last year.


So Caspian you had a team of 16 people to build a MMO, the most complex type of game, and you had one engineer? You were PAYING for 16 people and only ONE was an engineer?

He has $3M and just doubled the timeline of the project and now they are starting to monetize on what was previously free stuff which tells me Caspian is already looking for more money. What happened to that $500K investor you had waiting in the wings Caspian? From the KS:


We also realize that to effectively complete all of these amazing ideas will require a lot of cash. That's why we've invested half a million dollars to self-fund pre-production thus far and have another $500K committed from investors.


I'm still scratching my head that they went to PAX spending all that money on publicity when Caspian had to know how off schedule they were.

And now here he is spinning shit again, throwing every possible pretty graphic he can at you (most he's already shown) to sway your opinion before he delivers the bad news of the schedule slip. Well it's less of a slip and more of a massive move to another country. Oh and the bit about how he has learned that SpatialOS doesn't feed us and wipe our asses after all and there is still work to be done to get it going. I sense a pattern of deflection. Shit I pointed out way back but I was met with negativity and Caspian basically telling me to fuck off.

So here we are a little under a year and a half from CoE's Kickstarter and we have seen very little functionality. Lots of pretty stuff but very little nuts and bolts. He posts the massive list of 246 features that CoE is suppose to have for launch (that's one feature every 2 days) and tells us it'll come in about .......... wait for it ......... a year and a half.

I'm detecting another pattern......


Tinarius,

You obviously have no clue what goes on with game development. Things happen, timelines/roadmaps change. It's the nature of the beast. It's pre-alpha, bro! :)

MrMegaMario - 2 months ago

I feel very refreshed with this update. My friend and I have excitement still for this game. 2019 is fine. My life needs some sorting frankly so take your time XD. I can see from comments, people are worried about the new toolkit and how your money situation is. I can imagine those topics aren't easy ones, but if possible that may be the step to take is transparency on those parts of the overall project.

Overall, keep at it, because if there's one thing the gaming world needs is for you to pull through and do us proud. You're fully correct in the fact that this is now our dream too.

ZeekPlayzYT - 2 months ago

Third of all. These out of every cool one are the most realisticly epic ones no mmo has ever had:

Rust Animal Aging/Dying DECOMPOSITION? (GG I'm all in for this)

ZeekPlayzYT - 2 months ago

Also, ElyriaMUD is for everyone right?

ZeekPlayzYT - 2 months ago

Hey, Caspian, I know your reading this:

Thanks for being honest.

I'm still excited for Elyria and I'm glad that it isn't some "2021 minimum" release date. 2019 isn't that far away, were already almost mid 2017 so I'm EXCITED to see what this will be. Also, Will alpha/beta be for everyone?

whalerfish - 2 months ago

To be entirely honest- I'm kinda glad that there are delays - this year I have been far too busy to contemplate putting time into the game - and by the time alpha 2 is ready I might even have an actual computer to play this on xD

So keep on keeping on with the great work and we love hearing about these great updates!

Gorawyn - 2 months ago

I sincerely appreciate your honesty about moving forward. I am glad that you are sharing these timelines with us and letting us know when things change as they are inevitable to do. I would much rather be notified I have to wait to get my hands on an amazing game than for a developer to rush the product and it not live up to the hype. Thanks!

Chillified - 2 months ago

Thank you for being open with us about the schedule and timefame we can expect guys! I for one support you guys wholeheartedly through this. I want this game to be as great as it can possibly be, so I am all for pushing thing back so that you can make the best game possible on launch! I think we've all seen projects where they release the game half done and it flops. Good luck guys and keep up the good work. Please continue to be this transparent with us!

MiyukiShioru - 2 months ago

Is it just me who thinks the ElyriaMUD looks fun on its own? Just running around and screwing off.

Supersharp - 3 months ago

A very comprehensive update, although I don't fully understand all the dev speak so can't completely appreciate the complexities of building a playable world for the masses as a father I do understand the value of patience. As a professional I understand the provision for human factors is needed and sometimes deferring is required. This update feels honest and transparent and i feel invested for the long haul. I am looking forward to the launch day whenever it gets here, thank you for the update Caspian it was a lengthy tome! Good job all

Sleep - 3 months ago

the person looking out at the mountain from indoors is the CoE community; the mountain is the world of Elyria. the doorway is huge.

Aeryn Suun - 3 months ago

Thanks for the update, glad that I no longer have to come read the post every week, now I have a time frame. Cool, keep up the good work!

Sperg - 3 months ago

I love the re-organizational plan, and thank you for bringing us up to speed on what's been going on!

Azeron - 3 months ago

Those MUD screenshots remind me of old times when I played Tibia . That game is so old but still around if anyone want to check it out .

Joreel - 3 months ago

I'm glad you guys put this out to let us know what's happening. While I'm saddened that everything has been pushed back so much, it makes sense to not rush the game and release something that will be an embarrassment to everyone who supported and promoted the game (we've as a gaming community seen that too many times with KS/Indiegogo/EA games that were half-baked on release).

One thing that does bother me though is that the Land Selection was pushed back to mid to late 2018... Last April/May we were being led to believe repeatedly that it was going to be mid to late summer so we HAD to get our layaway pledges paid off quickly so we wouldn't miss out on selection. Now that it isn't going to be until late 2018, there would have been more than enough time to pay off our pledges that for many of us I'd be willing to bet were lowered from higher tier choices to lower ones in order to pay them off by the end of May. I had the Astronomer tier picked out, but I knew there was no way I could get it paid off before late summer/early fall, so I dropped down to Baron in order to not miss the Land Selection. Now as it turns out I didn't need to do that because the selection has been pushed back a year.

This was a lose/lose for everyone because SBS lost out on a lot of money because players were forced to settle for lower tiers and the players miss out on not being able to have the tiers they wanted to help make their stories better because SBS made it very clear in April that we NEEDED to be paid off by the end of May or miss out. But I'm still glad that at least you guys are trying to make the best game possible 😍

randys22 - 3 months ago

Really glad you gave us an updated timeline and all but it hurts that it is delayed roughly two years.

Hope the MUD is engaging to keep me busy for that time.

1mmaculateDeception - 3 months ago

Yeah, without our actions in The Mud connecting to the main game, it doesnt have the same value. When ElyriaMUD 2.0 starts though, I expect the player population within it to increase significantly because that is when we can begin to work on our bloodlines and such.

TheClass - 3 months ago

To be honest the MUD, not particularly excited about, doesn't in my mind seem particularly worth it or add anything to the game. the rest is looking good though, Shame about the extended time line. I remember when i backed this it was Dec this year they predicted the Alpha i think.

But i'd rather they took there time and it was good.

00cappello - 3 months ago

"V3 of the Website (Q3 2017) ElyriaMUD (Q4 2017) Alpha 1 (T1 2018) Server Selection (T1 2018) Settlement / Domain Selection (T2 2018) KoE (T2 2018) Design Experiences (T3 2018) Alpha 2 (T3 2018) Beta 1 (S1 2019) Prologue & CoE Adventure Toolkit (S1 2019) Exposition (S1 2019) Beta 2 (S1/S2 2019) Stress Test (Any paid account)(S2 2019) Launch (S2 2019)"

So from what I'm getting is this game isn't going to be available until the year 2020... Assuming it doesn't flop. I've got high hopes for this game, although all we've really seen is a few bits of art and talk about tribes...

Cloudstrike - 3 months ago

For the adventure toolkit... VR?

Xeryn - 3 months ago

This is what I wanted to see for a while now. It's just so good to get some confirmation of the schedule and see some new bits and pieces of the game. Things are pushed back more than I thought they would be but it all sounds reasonable. The amount of attention every detail and system is getting is continually astounding. At least now I know a good estimate on for how long I can get invested in other games as I wait for COE to get to a playable state.

Thank you Caspian.

Niv - 3 months ago

First of all I'd like to say I completely support Southbound Studio's and hope they keep up the good work making this dream MMORPG become real! I couldn't care less as to when it's released either. It could be 2020. As long as they are being transparent like they have been. It's caspians' policy on transparency that gives me confidence that I put money into an idea that will succeed. There are well over 20 other MMO's I've seen people back and then the developers stay quiet and then try to sell their botched project and then bail. I just hope the team doesn't get complacent and stays motivated to the task and goals at hand.

That all said I feel there is something off about the horse animation. I understand this is pre-pre alpha. But the animation on that horse does not seem wholly fluid. Skyrim's horse animation was perhaps the most fluid I've seen for any videogame. I would compare Elyria's horse animation to a better version of Oblivion. (I understand those examples are SRPG's but still it's comparable). The only reason I'm saying this is because in the article you said "As a result, however, I feel like we have the smoothest, most enjoyable mounted experience of any MMO thus far. Here... take a look.."

Anyway I don't want to leave on a bad note, I just thought because there was a lack of other posts about this that you the creators need to hear honest feedback, even if I may be a minority here whatever. I'm excited to watch this game grow into a living breathing world and maybe I'm getting cocky but I think it will crush any of the other MMO's on the market right now.

Cakewalk - 3 months ago

Given these changes to the schedule, did it make sense to suspend layaways when you did? Are you now going to reinstate them for a time? There are those among us (myself included) who might want to upgrade their package given that we have more time to do it.

JaPeMo - 3 months ago

Good afternoon

FIRST: THIS IS MY OPINION, VALID THAN YOUR COMMENTS OR THINKINGS.

When I ask you for twitter about the updates of the actual development of the game, you sent me to your post, but really, this IS an update and give information about the state of the game, despite republishing many images from previous reports.

All development involves problems, changes and delays, would be very good that weekly, biweekly or monthly make a report and teaching what you have done. This would demonstrate the transparency that you have preached so long. Secrecy does not lead anywhere and as backers I think we have a right to know the state and evolution of the game since it is what you promised before the Kickstarter. It is not good to sell a product and then forget the investor or developer until the end without giving report or reports.

Regarding videos that you have taught, to be the first iterations are acceptable, surely the best with time and experience.

To finish, I would have liked to see more development of the game and not content repeated previous reports, but also it is necessary to say that you teach new things and you have communicated the redesign of the road map.

I hope you will not forget the reports or reports not only with text but with content in new photos and videos of the new advances and thus recover the hype that I felt at the beginning.

regards

Rootful - 3 months ago

Thanks to my GM in Black Desert (sup sup HyperBlast) for opening my eyes to this. Can't wait to see this continue and become a full game. Looks and sounds interesting and looks good from what I can see on a phone screen so far.

Zunjin - 3 months ago

@Caspian and Team

Could someone please upload the mp4's to youtube? It would be way more easy to implement them and to share them on other forums.

Also I love the update and what we got to see from the game so far. Especially the new updated timeline gives me way more confidence. Thumbs up for the transperancy. :)

Sojiro84 - 3 months ago

Great update. This is also why I come here once every few months, since I knew way back then, then the original milestones where unattainable.

2019 though, I was hoping for 2018.

Guess I'll be going back to forgetting this game exists so that time goes faster for release.

Good luck!

Dreissea - 3 months ago

As an avid D&D/Pathfinder player, I am finding that idea of an Adventurers Toolkit pretty exciting! It'll bring back memories of crafting my own adventures with the Neverwinter Nights toolkit....only now I'll be able to invite other players into my story!

LukeWindborne - 3 months ago

Applause. Also, I think you meant "Friends List", not "Fiends list."

Sleep - 3 months ago

Awesome.

A critique: Something that stands out to me as feeling really awkward is the camera movement as the player mounts a horse. I think the camera movement should be different. How do you guys feel about it?

The video of traveling by horse and looking at creatures of Elyria was mesmerizing. It’s looking and sounding a lot more like a living breathing world.

Your plan for how to present information to the public going forward is really interesting. I’m excited to see how it looks.

Making the adventuring kits for Prologue a purchasable product looks like a smart move. It doesn’t make the CoE live game any more costly for the player, and should provide a profit for Soulbound Studios, as well as give incentive to potential investors to help fund production(seeing potential profit.)

Vladius - 3 months ago

@Caspian

Thank you for all the hard work that you and SBS are putting in to give this community the best game experience possible. I don't mind the push back on dates or the layout changes to some of the pre launch experience's. I have faith that you will give us a game that we will be hooked on for a very long time to come. I personally can't wait to get lost in the games lore and story that the community unfolds and creates.

Takeda_Shinukage - 3 months ago

Since the toolkit allows you to basically creative minecraft CoE will people be able to use that to unlock the secrets of becoming a lich, legendary recipes, etc? Idk like dropping a legendary blacksmith, using the scripting you said to rewrite it's personality to give out info to everyone then get free recipes that you wouldn't have got otherwise? Leading to their discovery in live.

Many other ways to get that result but that was the first one that came to mind.

Thaegar - 3 months ago

That was a lot to digest and I loved it!

Varhukan - 3 months ago

Looking forward to hearing more. I spent over a hour pouring through this State of Elyria and will read it a few more times over the next month or so. I have to say the animals look and act much better then most games including skyrim and such other big company products. Thank you all for your persistent efforts. I for one am enjoying the journey and can not wait to enter the world you all have created.

Jacks - 3 months ago

I'll probably be dead by the time this game comes out, but at least we know its not going to come out as a piece of trash. I feel like they're making a solid piece of art and you cant rush a masterpiece.

Unsmitten - 3 months ago

Fiends list (:. New backer, great news. Hope to be with you for the whole 10 year campaign.

Rybosaurus - 3 months ago

I think at this point, people do not care about delays that much. We all have seen what you are working on so hard and I think I can say that we like everything about it and we want to have finished, polished game rather than a fast incomplete one. Your work brings a vision of something that never existed until now. It's clear as a day that the team has great experience in MMOs and knows exactly what's been missing all these years.

We all wanted to see the state of the development and you showed us everything we wanted to know. The progress looks amazing. Art style, animations, new concepts, clothes and my god the snow looks unbelievable. Also, I personally think that low fantasy settings with some fantasy elements fits perfectly. It makes the game interesting while being realistic, lively and easy to connect with.

Keep up the amazing work. We are really happy to see such a progression and your clear vision of where the game should head to (cause that's the most important thing to not lose the sight of the main idea of the progress). We also love the communication between the devs and us, It's sadly a rare sight to have developers listen to the fanbase these days.

I wish your team the best luck and problems-free developement. You sure earned it with your hard work.

lenkek - 3 months ago

Nice to see the timeline!

Looks like Elyria MUD is taking shape!

Grapefruitkush - 3 months ago

Awesome post Caspian, writer of words ! Lots of exciting things to look forward to , and I'm really surprised we're seeing the visuals of all the "pre-alpha" experiences which is a nice touch .

Overall I can't wait for alpha 1 still , what with these beautiful graphics you see in the screen shots ..

I might even become a Neran now for that badass plate armor !

Cave_N - 3 months ago

Woot~! Lewt$!

RedDoggybone - 3 months ago

All this is blind speculation on the investment part of it. The truth is none of us really know what their financial situation is and to theorize what it is on so little information is how baseless rumors start. I know what things were said in the past but even the most recent thing said was so long ago who knows if it still applies.

Sure I would love to hear how the financing is going and I am a little disappointed we didn't but I imagine their are reasons we don't that they can't share with us. So just saying, guessing and trying to figure out where the money has gone and what more is needed is just us throwing darts at the wall blindfolded and has no real purpose other than to spread baseless rumors.

From the Kick starter page.

In general, a creator can offset the income from their Kickstarter project with deductible expenses that are related to the project and accounted for in the same tax year. For example, if a creator receives $1,000 in funding and spends $1,000 on their project in the same tax year, then their expenses could fully offset their Kickstarter funding for federal income tax purposes. If a creator receives funding in one year and spends money on their project in a later year, consider whether their expenses can still offset their Kickstarter funding using the accrual method of accounting.

Just brought this up as an example to emphasize how people think they know something and state it as fact but in reality they don't know anything. Not signaling any one out as I have done this sort of thing too. But the "experts" on here that state things as if they are fact but in reality are just guesses or assumptions do more harm than good.

CptBloodBeard - 3 months ago

I agree that the Toolkit add on seems sketchy. Sounds like SBS is going to be one of those studios that releases a broken half assed base game and charge an arm and a leg for DLC (cough cough civ 6). Really makes you wonder how they plan on releasing the real game. Sure they sold positions of power as a way to crowd fund, but are they going to keep that model? Pay to win? Or just as bad, pay astronomical amounts of money to get a decent gaming experience? I hope they tread carefully. There have been many great games that destroyed themselves with the pay to win mindset. This will be no exception.

Antelino - 3 months ago
@CptBloodBeard:

If you truly think that after what you should have read from Caspian then not sure what to tell you. I think SBS is as far from "greedy" and for you to assume they are going to release a half assed game just makes you look like an idiot who can't read.

Oracle - 3 months ago

Excellent decisions and progress all round. Good work again :)

Devilkyn - 3 months ago

Thank you so much Caspian and all of SBS. I really enjoyed and appreciated all of the tribes Q&A's, but admittedly was feeling a little in the dark about what to expect next. I imagine many of us are relieved to have this post, as well as the timeline. I think it will greatly assist the players and communities in making and/or postponing their plans. I'd also like to say while I was initially taken aback at Selection being pushed so far back, I can see the value in experiencing the ElyriaMUD first. I do hope we'll be able to make several characters to thoroughly test the experience.

Thank you for such a wealth of information,

Devilkyn

Tonchek - 3 months ago

Nice one @Caspian.

I love it. Keep up the good work and watch after your health, also the health of all doing on this game, is important.

And my thoughts about transparency: don't take too much time of creating the best game ever for to be totally transparent. One blog post like this every 2 months or so is totally enough. Rather take that time and put it into game development. Any time you guys take to be on discord and forum is extra appreciated.

Arisilde - 3 months ago

Will the portion of the MUD that's prior to domain selection/KoE be on our server's actual map, or will it be a sample map or something?

The post-KoE MUD is still planned to be our actual domains, on our actual server map, right?

Caspian - 3 months ago

Hey folks,

I've seen a couple questions on here about the CoE Adventure Toolkit. I'm going to go back and re-write that section in the State of Elyria so it's more explicit.

In the meantime, allow me to clarify for everyone's benefit. Without the fancy explanations of why, here's the cold, hard, facts.

  1. The Architecture Tool is no longer a standalone tool and will be incorporated into Alpha 2 as previously planned for everyone to experiment and test with.
  2. The Prologue will still be a free download for everyone to enjoy. The Prologue will have two game modes : a single-player story mode, and a multiplayer option that allows you to connect to another player's hosted adventure.
  3. The Adventure Toolkit will be a permanent, supported, separate product from CoE which people can purchase to play the role of game master and build their own adventures using the same world-building and settlement building tools as we have, in addition to OPC scripting for scripting the NPCs.
  4. Only the "GM" will need to purchase the Adventure Toolkit. Anyone who has the prologue downloaded will be able to connect to anyone's game, if they have the information to do so.
  5. We will continue to release content for the Adventure Tookit, and perhaps our own modules, as purchasable DLC so people can do more with their adventures and campaigns.

In short, the CoE Adventure Toolkit is for those individuals who want the opportunity to create their own adventures and campaigns using the CoE setting and rule-set. As a product, it can be viewed as a virtual table-top RPG experience allowing players all over the world to get together and share their own stories, rather than being guided by ours.

However, as it's intended for small 2-6-ish person parties, we feel it will add to the overall community of Elyrians, rather than dilute the player-base participating in the MMO.

RedDoggybone - 3 months ago

Love any insights to the game making process. Thanks for this wealth of info! As others have said, it would have been nice to hear a little about the financials but the simple fact that they don't seem to be asking for more money actively from us is reassuring. Slightly disappointed on the release schedule but thats more from my unrealistic initial hopes. But was hoping to see the Mud sooner but not a biggie.

To those really bothered by the new schedule, maybe you should take a step back for a little while. It is impossible to keep your enthusiasm up for any project for this long of a period and your only courting disappoint by trying to.

Nicademus - 3 months ago

I think your timing for this huge update is perfect. It answers just about all of the questions I've had in the past few months and more. Obviously it isn't what most of us wanted to hear as far as when the game will become operational, etc. However, I must say I applaud your honesty and sincerity giving us the cold, hard facts concerning time lines, etc. Hopefully your update will have a positive effect on the amount of rumors being spread within the EoD community. Keep up the great work. Nicademus

Cwlomax - 3 months ago

Keep up the great work. I really want to play this game and it is sad to see an estimated launch of Summer 2019, good things come to wait and I'll just have to get the most out of the alpha lol. I love your idea and I hope this game is everything you want it to be. Much Luv

Chris

Wraith - 3 months ago

Great update thanks! Looking forward to ElyriaMUD!

Josseline - 3 months ago

You guys are obviously working your butts off, and that's enough for me to keep faith! Go team! Woohoo! Waves a Coe pennant

AronDarkholm - 3 months ago

All in all I can say that I am pretty happy with this update. Would love to be playing sooner of course but development is what it has always been. A killer of scheduling. I am most concerned about the sustainability of the studio as is, let alone bringing in more people. I don't see any talk about investors and I can assume you are currently pretty close to the 7 digit marker in employee salary with roughly 20 - 25 people. I don't see this news helping make money as most people will now wait until closer to the date. Is there any movement on finding angel investors? Or are you hoping for Web 3.0 to stimulate some income. Because I also assume that there are hard costs associated with your business and that not all the money you got is sitting in a bank untouched. Timelines are great but if there is no foreseeable increase in monthly revenue how are the lights going to stay on. Maybe I am missing something and everyone is paid less than what I think they are, but I still think it matters for the sake of consumer confidence.

LionHeartTheDark - 3 months ago
@AronDarkholm:

Posted By AronDarkholm at 07:46 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

All in all I can say that I am pretty happy with this update. Would love to be playing sooner of course but development is what it has always been. A killer of scheduling. I am most concerned about the sustainability of the studio as is, let alone bringing in more people. I don't see any talk about investors and I can assume you are currently pretty close to the 7 digit marker in employee salary with roughly 20 - 25 people. I don't see this news helping make money as most people will now wait until closer to the date. Is there any movement on finding angel investors? Or are you hoping for Web 3.0 to stimulate some income. Because I also assume that there are hard costs associated with your business and that not all the money you got is sitting in a bank untouched. Timelines are great but if there is no foreseeable increase in monthly revenue how are the lights going to stay on. Maybe I am missing something and everyone is paid less than what I think they are, but I still think it matters for the sake of consumer confidence.

This is my primary concern as well. Will the money you have obtained from kickstarter and the opening of the store on your website truly be enough to get you through S2 of 2019?

There are already rumblings that the community will be milked of money continually during the development of this game. Not to mention the bidding war that is sure to happen around the time of server selection. I do not want to believe relying on a community that has already invested so much into the game is your monetization strategy up until launch.

I appreciate everything you have done so far towards the development of this game. I am very much still excited to see the end product and to help along the way with testing and feedback. I hope you understand my concern about the financial standing of your company. From an outside perspective and with no further insight provided by the developers of the game it almost does not seem feasible.

I would love to hear more about the potential of investors. Anything you can provide to help shed some light on how the company can be sustained until launch will be appreciated. Again thank you so much for being the transparent, awesome set of devs that you are!

CuteLilPuppyDog - 3 months ago
@LionHeartTheDark:

Posted By LionHeartTheDark at 09:28 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By AronDarkholm at 07:46 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

All in all I can say that I am pretty happy with this update. Would love to be playing sooner of course but development is what it has always been. A killer of scheduling. I am most concerned about the sustainability of the studio as is, let alone bringing in more people. I don't see any talk about investors and I can assume you are currently pretty close to the 7 digit marker in employee salary with roughly 20 - 25 people. I don't see this news helping make money as most people will now wait until closer to the date. Is there any movement on finding angel investors? Or are you hoping for Web 3.0 to stimulate some income. Because I also assume that there are hard costs associated with your business and that not all the money you got is sitting in a bank untouched. Timelines are great but if there is no foreseeable increase in monthly revenue how are the lights going to stay on. Maybe I am missing something and everyone is paid less than what I think they are, but I still think it matters for the sake of consumer confidence.

This is my primary concern as well. Will the money you have obtained from kickstarter and the opening of the store on your website truly be enough to get you through S2 of 2019?

There are already rumblings that the community will be milked of money continually during the development of this game. Not to mention the bidding war that is sure to happen around the time of server selection. I do not want to believe relying on a community that has already invested so much into the game is your monetization strategy up until launch.

I appreciate everything you have done so far towards the development of this game. I am very much still excited to see the end product and to help along the way with testing and feedback. I hope you understand my concern about the financial standing of your company. From an outside perspective and with no further insight provided by the developers of the game it almost does not seem feasible.

I would love to hear more about the potential of investors. Anything you can provide to help shed some light on how the company can be sustained until launch will be appreciated. Again thank you so much for being the transparent, awesome set of devs that you are!

They've already said it a few times that this store and the kick starter is just to get them enough money to build their idea into a real enough product that will get them some serious financial investors to fund the main portion of the game.

That being said, if I were a company and I saw potential to continue to bring in revenue to not only supplement company costs but further prove to possible investors that the community believes in this game, why wouldn't they keep the store open and revenue flowing? It is not as is they are pressuring us to invest, especially not beyond our means. They have never (imo) forced players to buy beyond the 35$ Elyria package and have stated several times the EP that comes with your package is sufficient for getting your settlement going. The store simply gives them a little more cash to play with and credibility going forward with investors.

AronDarkholm - 3 months ago
@CuteLilPuppyDog:

Posted By CuteLilPuppyDog at 11:47 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By LionHeartTheDark at 09:28 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By AronDarkholm at 07:46 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

All in all I can say that I am pretty happy with this update. Would love to be playing sooner of course but development is what it has always been. A killer of scheduling. I am most concerned about the sustainability of the studio as is, let alone bringing in more people. I don't see any talk about investors and I can assume you are currently pretty close to the 7 digit marker in employee salary with roughly 20 - 25 people. I don't see this news helping make money as most people will now wait until closer to the date. Is there any movement on finding angel investors? Or are you hoping for Web 3.0 to stimulate some income. Because I also assume that there are hard costs associated with your business and that not all the money you got is sitting in a bank untouched. Timelines are great but if there is no foreseeable increase in monthly revenue how are the lights going to stay on. Maybe I am missing something and everyone is paid less than what I think they are, but I still think it matters for the sake of consumer confidence.

This is my primary concern as well. Will the money you have obtained from kickstarter and the opening of the store on your website truly be enough to get you through S2 of 2019?

There are already rumblings that the community will be milked of money continually during the development of this game. Not to mention the bidding war that is sure to happen around the time of server selection. I do not want to believe relying on a community that has already invested so much into the game is your monetization strategy up until launch.

I appreciate everything you have done so far towards the development of this game. I am very much still excited to see the end product and to help along the way with testing and feedback. I hope you understand my concern about the financial standing of your company. From an outside perspective and with no further insight provided by the developers of the game it almost does not seem feasible.

I would love to hear more about the potential of investors. Anything you can provide to help shed some light on how the company can be sustained until launch will be appreciated. Again thank you so much for being the transparent, awesome set of devs that you are!

They've already said it a few times that this store and the kick starter is just to get them enough money to build their idea into a real enough product that will get them some serious financial investors to fund the main portion of the game.

That being said, if I were a company and I saw potential to continue to bring in revenue to not only supplement company costs but further prove to possible investors that the community believes in this game, why wouldn't they keep the store open and revenue flowing? It is not as is they are pressuring us to invest, especially not beyond our means. They have never (imo) forced players to buy beyond the 35$ Elyria package and have stated several times the EP that comes with your package is sufficient for getting your settlement going. The store simply gives them a little more cash to play with and credibility going forward with investors.

No one said anything about stopping the store. In fact we are wondering how they will keep any momentum going forward. And the types of investors they have stated they are looking for are not going to be easily brought in and will require substantial certainty with regards to success and a well rounded and financially sustainable business model. What we are pointing out is that besides there online cart and pushing existing community members to support further there does not seem to be enough being generated that would make the end result we all desire plausible. Especially when you consider all the peripheral costs and the need and desire to hire more people. The store from what I have seen is not subsidizing all the costs. Again maybe I am missing something, but as it stands they are likely verging on the half way mark of the 3 mil in the next month or two. Speculation based on average dev salary and number of employees since kickstarter. IF my assessment is unfair please correct it.

Grapefruitkush - 3 months ago
@AronDarkholm:

I think you should let the devs worry about their finances , no? It makes no sense to speculate on such a silly thing when we don't know the expenses of any of these things and I don't expect them to show us either (waste of time , and sort of an invasion of privacy for a whole company).

Let's keep the Wild speculations away until you at least have proof besides hearsay and your past "experience" .

grandad1982 - 3 months ago
@Grapefruitkush:

Posted By Grapefruitkush at 02:00 AM - Fri Jul 28 2017

I think you should let the devs worry about their finances , no? It makes no sense to speculate on such a silly thing when we don't know the expenses of any of these things and I don't expect them to show us either (waste of time , and sort of an invasion of privacy for a whole company).

Let's keep the Wild speculations away until you at least have proof besides hearsay and your past "experience" .

So as backers and financiers of the game, we the investors, shouldn't want to know the financial health of the product with regards to it actually being release?

I do agree that wild speculation is bad but honest questions seem fine to me.

Ranea - 2 months ago
@grandad1982:

Posted By grandad1982 at 05:01 AM - Fri Jul 28 2017

Posted By Grapefruitkush at 02:00 AM - Fri Jul 28 2017

I think you should let the devs worry about their finances , no? It makes no sense to speculate on such a silly thing when we don't know the expenses of any of these things and I don't expect them to show us either (waste of time , and sort of an invasion of privacy for a whole company).

Let's keep the Wild speculations away until you at least have proof besides hearsay and your past "experience" .

So as backers and financiers of the game, we the investors, shouldn't want to know the financial health of the product with regards to it actually being release?

I do agree that wild speculation is bad but honest questions seem fine to me.

I agree, what the hell do you mean we shouldn't know, they are getting a lot of money from us the potential players in order to help make this game a success, we have every right to know lol. I am trying not to be mean while writing this, but that is a very idiotic way of thinking.

Count_Emiya - 2 months ago
@Ranea:

Posted By Ranea at 1:17 PM - Thu Aug 03 2017

Posted By grandad1982 at 05:01 AM - Fri Jul 28 2017

Posted By Grapefruitkush at 02:00 AM - Fri Jul 28 2017

I think you should let the devs worry about their finances , no? It makes no sense to speculate on such a silly thing when we don't know the expenses of any of these things and I don't expect them to show us either (waste of time , and sort of an invasion of privacy for a whole company).

Let's keep the Wild speculations away until you at least have proof besides hearsay and your past "experience" .

So as backers and financiers of the game, we the investors, shouldn't want to know the financial health of the product with regards to it actually being release?

I do agree that wild speculation is bad but honest questions seem fine to me.

I agree, what the hell do you mean we shouldn't know, they are getting a lot of money from us the potential players in order to help make this game a success, we have every right to know lol. I am trying not to be mean while writing this, but that is a very idiotic way of thinking.

And yet the ones who haven't invested anything are the ones who make posts like yours.

CommonlyQuixotic - 3 months ago
@AronDarkholm:

Posted By AronDarkholm at 12:05 PM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By CuteLilPuppyDog at 11:47 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By LionHeartTheDark at 09:28 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By AronDarkholm at 07:46 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

All in all I can say that I am pretty happy with this update. Would love to be playing sooner of course but development is what it has always been. A killer of scheduling. I am most concerned about the sustainability of the studio as is, let alone bringing in more people. I don't see any talk about investors and I can assume you are currently pretty close to the 7 digit marker in employee salary with roughly 20 - 25 people. I don't see this news helping make money as most people will now wait until closer to the date. Is there any movement on finding angel investors? Or are you hoping for Web 3.0 to stimulate some income. Because I also assume that there are hard costs associated with your business and that not all the money you got is sitting in a bank untouched. Timelines are great but if there is no foreseeable increase in monthly revenue how are the lights going to stay on. Maybe I am missing something and everyone is paid less than what I think they are, but I still think it matters for the sake of consumer confidence.

This is my primary concern as well. Will the money you have obtained from kickstarter and the opening of the store on your website truly be enough to get you through S2 of 2019?

There are already rumblings that the community will be milked of money continually during the development of this game. Not to mention the bidding war that is sure to happen around the time of server selection. I do not want to believe relying on a community that has already invested so much into the game is your monetization strategy up until launch.

I appreciate everything you have done so far towards the development of this game. I am very much still excited to see the end product and to help along the way with testing and feedback. I hope you understand my concern about the financial standing of your company. From an outside perspective and with no further insight provided by the developers of the game it almost does not seem feasible.

I would love to hear more about the potential of investors. Anything you can provide to help shed some light on how the company can be sustained until launch will be appreciated. Again thank you so much for being the transparent, awesome set of devs that you are!

They've already said it a few times that this store and the kick starter is just to get them enough money to build their idea into a real enough product that will get them some serious financial investors to fund the main portion of the game.

That being said, if I were a company and I saw potential to continue to bring in revenue to not only supplement company costs but further prove to possible investors that the community believes in this game, why wouldn't they keep the store open and revenue flowing? It is not as is they are pressuring us to invest, especially not beyond our means. They have never (imo) forced players to buy beyond the 35$ Elyria package and have stated several times the EP that comes with your package is sufficient for getting your settlement going. The store simply gives them a little more cash to play with and credibility going forward with investors.

No one said anything about stopping the store. In fact we are wondering how they will keep any momentum going forward. And the types of investors they have stated they are looking for are not going to be easily brought in and will require substantial certainty with regards to success and a well rounded and financially sustainable business model. What we are pointing out is that besides there online cart and pushing existing community members to support further there does not seem to be enough being generated that would make the end result we all desire plausible. Especially when you consider all the peripheral costs and the need and desire to hire more people. The store from what I have seen is not subsidizing all the costs. Again maybe I am missing something, but as it stands they are likely verging on the half way mark of the 3 mil in the next month or two. Speculation based on average dev salary and number of employees since kickstarter. IF my assessment is unfair please correct it.

There are a few comments I have about this. First, the three million listed on the store page is only what the backers have contributed. Caspian also put his life savings into this project, though I don't know how much that was or how much was left by the end of the Kickstarter. Second, I'm sure whatever money has not already been spent is in a bank earning interest. Even with a low interest rate, the interest on even half of that three million dollars is not inconsequential. Third, some current backers will likely, as you mentioned, choose to spend more either during domain selection or exposition. They might spend money to upgrade their pledge, purchase additional EP, or purchase soul packs and/or additional sparks of life. Fourth, while I doubt that version 3.0 of the website will bring in many new players, I wouldn't be surprise if ElyriaMUD brings quite a few. It may not be as pretty as the game will be eventually, but if many of the unique mechanics and social elements are available, that will draw in some new backers. The release of beta, prologue, exposition, and launch will also each likely bring in new players. Lastly, Caspian has announce an additional source of revenue with the Adventure Toolkit. This may even draw in a whole new subset of gamers, those who aren't interested in an MMO, but are interested in running a game with a few friends that allows them to plan the content themselves. That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see them announce a major investor within the next year. We know they've been considering bringing a major investor onboard since at least the Kickstarter, but they want to get as far as they can with the money they have first so that they can craft their vision as clearly as possible so they will be more likely to find an investor who shares their vision.

AronDarkholm - 3 months ago
@CommonlyQuixotic:

Posted By CommonlyQuixotic at 1:46 PM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By AronDarkholm at 12:05 PM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By CuteLilPuppyDog at 11:47 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By LionHeartTheDark at 09:28 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By AronDarkholm at 07:46 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

All in all I can say that I am pretty happy with this update. Would love to be playing sooner of course but development is what it has always been. A killer of scheduling. I am most concerned about the sustainability of the studio as is, let alone bringing in more people. I don't see any talk about investors and I can assume you are currently pretty close to the 7 digit marker in employee salary with roughly 20 - 25 people. I don't see this news helping make money as most people will now wait until closer to the date. Is there any movement on finding angel investors? Or are you hoping for Web 3.0 to stimulate some income. Because I also assume that there are hard costs associated with your business and that not all the money you got is sitting in a bank untouched. Timelines are great but if there is no foreseeable increase in monthly revenue how are the lights going to stay on. Maybe I am missing something and everyone is paid less than what I think they are, but I still think it matters for the sake of consumer confidence.

This is my primary concern as well. Will the money you have obtained from kickstarter and the opening of the store on your website truly be enough to get you through S2 of 2019?

There are already rumblings that the community will be milked of money continually during the development of this game. Not to mention the bidding war that is sure to happen around the time of server selection. I do not want to believe relying on a community that has already invested so much into the game is your monetization strategy up until launch.

I appreciate everything you have done so far towards the development of this game. I am very much still excited to see the end product and to help along the way with testing and feedback. I hope you understand my concern about the financial standing of your company. From an outside perspective and with no further insight provided by the developers of the game it almost does not seem feasible.

I would love to hear more about the potential of investors. Anything you can provide to help shed some light on how the company can be sustained until launch will be appreciated. Again thank you so much for being the transparent, awesome set of devs that you are!

They've already said it a few times that this store and the kick starter is just to get them enough money to build their idea into a real enough product that will get them some serious financial investors to fund the main portion of the game.

That being said, if I were a company and I saw potential to continue to bring in revenue to not only supplement company costs but further prove to possible investors that the community believes in this game, why wouldn't they keep the store open and revenue flowing? It is not as is they are pressuring us to invest, especially not beyond our means. They have never (imo) forced players to buy beyond the 35$ Elyria package and have stated several times the EP that comes with your package is sufficient for getting your settlement going. The store simply gives them a little more cash to play with and credibility going forward with investors.

No one said anything about stopping the store. In fact we are wondering how they will keep any momentum going forward. And the types of investors they have stated they are looking for are not going to be easily brought in and will require substantial certainty with regards to success and a well rounded and financially sustainable business model. What we are pointing out is that besides there online cart and pushing existing community members to support further there does not seem to be enough being generated that would make the end result we all desire plausible. Especially when you consider all the peripheral costs and the need and desire to hire more people. The store from what I have seen is not subsidizing all the costs. Again maybe I am missing something, but as it stands they are likely verging on the half way mark of the 3 mil in the next month or two. Speculation based on average dev salary and number of employees since kickstarter. IF my assessment is unfair please correct it.

There are a few comments I have about this. First, the three million listed on the store page is only what the backers have contributed. Caspian also put his life savings into this project, though I don't know how much that was or how much was left by the end of the Kickstarter. Second, I'm sure whatever money has not already been spent is in a bank earning interest. Even with a low interest rate, the interest on even half of that three million dollars is not inconsequential. Third, some current backers will likely, as you mentioned, choose to spend more either during domain selection or exposition. They might spend money to upgrade their pledge, purchase additional EP, or purchase soul packs and/or additional sparks of life. Fourth, while I doubt that version 3.0 of the website will bring in many new players, I wouldn't be surprise if ElyriaMUD brings quite a few. It may not be as pretty as the game will be eventually, but if many of the unique mechanics and social elements are available, that will draw in some new backers. The release of beta, prologue, exposition, and launch will also each likely bring in new players. Lastly, Caspian has announce an additional source of revenue with the Adventure Toolkit. This may even draw in a whole new subset of gamers, those who aren't interested in an MMO, but are interested in running a game with a few friends that allows them to plan the content themselves. That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see them announce a major investor within the next year. We know they've been considering bringing a major investor onboard since at least the Kickstarter, but they want to get as far as they can with the money they have first so that they can craft their vision as clearly as possible so they will be more likely to find an investor who shares their vision.

Sorry but you don't wait to see how far you get before getting investors, often that winds up killing you project. They don't have one (if they actually don't who knows) because no one has approached them that will meet there standards or they just haven't gotten anyone past the first few steps. Considering the market has many mmos available to support it may just be that until you have an alpha build or beta build that you just won't get someone jumping in with money. Also they used there money they paid taxes on the amount that they got and they had people on staff before the kickstarter, so whatever money they had before kickstarter is long gone.

Corin - 3 months ago
@AronDarkholm:

Would you kindly remove the older quotes when you reply? It's getting unnecessarily long.

Posted By AronDarkholm at 11:55 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Sorry but you don't wait to see how far you get before getting investors, often that winds up killing you project. They don't have one (if they actually don't who knows) because no one has approached them that will meet there standards or they just haven't gotten anyone past the first few steps.

If I remember correctly, they had an investor that promised to help if the project got kickstarted successfully.

LionHeartTheDark - 3 months ago
@CuteLilPuppyDog:

That being said, if I were a company and I saw potential to continue to bring in revenue to not only supplement company costs but further prove to possible investors that the community believes in this game, why wouldn't they keep the store open and revenue flowing? It is not as is they are pressuring us to invest, especially not beyond our means. They have never (imo) forced players to buy beyond the 35$ Elyria package and have stated several times the EP that comes with your package is sufficient for getting your settlement going. The store simply gives them a little more cash to play with and credibility going forward with investors.

I am by no means suggesting that the store be closed and that source of income be completely ruled out of the equation. That would be a very obvious mistake, and is not something that should even be considered. I am unsure what I have said to cause you to assume that is what I was leading towards.

My primary point was the aforementioned investors and the their financial state was not addressed in this SoE post and I would like further information on what they are planning to do.

If they truly believe they can stay afloat on their store alone I will fully accept that as an answer. I am all for them obtaining new sources of income. If that is what it takes for them to have the means to ensure this game is made more power to them.

gutza1 - 3 months ago

At what time will the MUD be available for Bloodline tier players and below? Will it correspond with the release of the Alphas and Betas?

Elbereth - 3 months ago

I really loved this update.

The given dates felt realistic and trustful. Also, the decission of doing things with more transparency was a nice call, I think we all feel really happy about it.

I enjoyed looking at all the audiovisual content, I'm specially in love with one of the pictures.

VERY nice job, SbS! Thank you very much for your efford and for making this dream real.

Nid - 3 months ago

Very exciting!
Thank you SbS for aligning your lofty schedule in a way that gives us the chance to understand your intents and purposes.
The primary thing I'm upset about is that Domain Selection was moved behind KoE. All of those events and all that data that will happen in KoE has been forsaken for the availability of consequence-free playtesting and elongating the upper tier buy window. I hope the trend towards these priorities does not continue.

karat76 - 3 months ago

2019 launch so expecting some delays 2020 is realistic that gives me plenty of time to upgrade the computers for my family.

Fenrer - 3 months ago
@karat76:

Really pleased to now have some updated and official estimates to when things will start happening.

Sure it stings to know how much time been lost before the needed people joined the team, but with all the other goodies being worked on I am sure most of us will get some relief to our wanna get to play itch.

For me personally it might be good that my toddler and newborn have a cupple of years to grow up a bit before I start up my gaming habits again. :P

Iccubus - 3 months ago

Where does the merging accounts fall into the timeline? I would guess at v3 website, but wanted to make sure.

armin321 - 3 months ago

I think the horse movement needs a little more polishment and character walking movement too.

Arfen - 3 months ago

As many said already: thank you very much for your transparency. Your approach as a studio is very inspirational.

Great update! Looking forward to the MUD!

Jomcot - 3 months ago

This...gave me hope. I stopped following COE because of the lack of transparency and looking at how other crowdfunded game was showing everything and being transparent about it. I'm glad you guys realize what was right or wrong and will change to please the community.

Thanks

azelreborn - 3 months ago

I thinks this post was great and really needed, it seems that a few people had expected things to be unrealistically done sooner then where they are currently at and with the new realistic timeline and Schedules it's much easier to follow the games progress as well as help keep sprits high. Im still pretty new to the comunitty, however with that being said you have definitely sold me the dream that is CoE and as someone who is really looking forward to interacting with the fauna of the world as far as taming and breeding gose, im very happy to see all the work ur put into their animations, movements, behaviors and overall lifecycles. The time and work ur putting/planning to put into CoE details in addition to its gameplay is amazing and therefore it looks amazing. Keep up the great work i have no douts that this game will be great (no greats not quite the right word) epic, yes epic is the one, i have no dout this game will be epic when its finished.

p.s. pax west + jousting competition = mind blown

Abigor - 3 months ago

Phew, that was a long read

Launch S2 2019...I ain't even mad, glad to see at least some schedule and when to expect things. Now we can sit back, relax and wait for masterpiece to happen.

Xaar - 3 months ago

Posted By Caspian at

So we've decided to not only change the timing of the Prologue, but also release a purchasable add-on to the Prologue called the CoE Adventure Toolkit. While the Prologue itself will be free to download and play as a solo experience, those who are interested can purchase the add-on to build buildings and structures, generate and layout settlements, dungeons, quests, adventures, and more. Those creations can then be shared with the community and played-through with maybe 5-10 friends. We're not sure which approach we're going to take yet, but this will either be run as a locally-hosted version of a mini-CoE Game Server, or deployed to our cloud.

But whichever approach we take, this will allow you to - before the launch of Chronicles of Elyria - create your own unique quests and adventures, and invite players onto your server to experience the adventures you've created. Additional content SBS creates will be made available to purchase as content packs so you can continue to expand your adventures with more creatures, animals, and environments.

We'll have more information about the CoE Adventure Toolkit and game servers in 2018.

I really think you need to post some clarifications on the Adventure Toolkit; it's generating a lot of uncertainty & controversy in some quarters, people are reading very different things into what it will do, and what won't be doable without it. While you've said you'll provide more info about it in 2018, that's setting up 6+ months of potentially unconstructive comments & speculation that could be avoided by elaborating a bit on your intentions for it.

What's the intended purpose -- from SBS's perspective -- of the Adventure Toolkit?

Does the Adventure Toolkit only apply to the Prologue, and/or will similar functionality also be available in Exposition and once live? If so will the purchase of the Toolkit for Prologue also grant its use during Exposition & Live, or will an additional purchase be necessary? Will the functionality provided by the Toolkit later be available for free (ie we'd be buying early access to it)?

The functionality the toolkit provides is a mix of things that were already expected (eg for creating new buildings) and wholly new (eg scenario design) -- why was it decided to bundle these together? Are other "creator" activities going to be add-ons (charged for or otherwise) rather than core to the game. If building design isn't going to be in the base game, where is the line being drawn with design/crafting activities more generally? In particular, it had previously been suggested that an architect-like role might be a viable in-game job.

What's the purpose of charging for it -- to raise revenue, or to gate access? If the former it feels unlikely that it would generate a significant amount given the costs & overheads that would likely be associated with it. If the latter then you already mechanisms available for that. The people likely to make the greatest use of the Toolkit are already backing the game with hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Gammea - 3 months ago

I'm happy to see this realistic timeline and features. The only thing i wonder is why beta 2 is after Exposition. This is my first time following the develop of a game and I am not sure if this is a common thing.

@Malvourn I think is a early horse animation so I assume they will improve it as soon as they finish other stuff.

Bluetiful - 3 months ago

Wow, I'm so pumped for this now (not that I wasn't before)! The horse animations look AMAZING! You guys can take all the time in the world if it means creating a better & detailed game. I love how realistic this is. My bf and I are still trying to decide what to name our town XD

A couple questions, some of which you may not be able to answer since it's still pretty early in development so I don't mind.

1) When you decide to have a child with another player, does the female character stay pregnant and start to show for a certain amount of time, example Sims? Or does it just happen haha

2) Can another player court you for marriage, and if so can you say no?

3) If you were to somehow obtain the teleportation skill could you also teleport your friends?

I know these questions are completely random but I keep meaning to ask you guys and never have the time.
Loved this journal entry, always excited for the next. Xox Blue

Lexx - 3 months ago

Kudos on being open about this. I look forward to seeing a better game with this more realistic time frame!

Solem - 3 months ago

Thanks a lot for this update. You guys are doing epic work, continue like that and I am certain we will have a great game in the End.

But in my opinion dont overdue transparency. Like you said, communication with the community costs time.

In my Opinion an Update like this one every 2 Months or so would be good enough + talking with the community here at the forum and discord from time to time.

Best Regards

Maulvorn - 3 months ago
Bunnii - 3 months ago

The part about prologue confuses me. So after the investments we have made into the game, we are going to have to pay more to build (which was more of a "meh" response, strange but not too crazy), and then on top of it, you have to buy creatures and stuff to put in it? That seems super strange to me...

Imshada - 3 months ago
@Bunnii:

Posted By Bunnii at 01:56 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

The part about prologue confuses me. So after the investments we have made into the game, we are going to have to pay more to build (which was more of a "meh" response, strange but not too crazy), and then on top of it, you have to buy creatures and stuff to put in it? That seems super strange to me...

Exposition and the Prologue adventure creator being announced here are two separate things. Expo hasn't changed at all, it still works the same way as before; what's new is basically a "scenario editor" that they're saying they're going to make, which will be built to work with the Prologue client and can be used to make scenarios that can be played by others with the (free) Prologue client. That's not part of the actual on-server game world, though. Like the Prologue, it's its own standalone experience that simply utilizes the CoE game client.

Bunnii - 3 months ago
@Imshada:

Posted By Imshada at 03:12 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By Bunnii at 01:56 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

The part about prologue confuses me. So after the investments we have made into the game, we are going to have to pay more to build (which was more of a "meh" response, strange but not too crazy), and then on top of it, you have to buy creatures and stuff to put in it? That seems super strange to me...

Exposition and the Prologue adventure creator being announced here are two separate things. Expo hasn't changed at all, it still works the same way as before; what's new is basically a "scenario editor" that they're saying they're going to make, which will be built to work with the Prologue client and can be used to make scenarios that can be played by others with the (free) Prologue client. That's not part of the actual on-server game world, though. Like the Prologue, it's its own standalone experience that simply utilizes the CoE game client.

Yeah I know, was talking about the prologue specifically not expo at all. Just seems strange to me paying for animals in a single player (possibly 5-10 friends) environment. Kinda hard to pin down exactly why, but the word "money grubbing" keeps coming into my head, which I'm not keen on it because its strong negative annotation, but that seems like a very lame thing to have to buy, after buying kindgoms and duchies and all the other tiers people may have bought lol I guess I just don't understand it other than maybe a desperation for money.

Not trying to be rude in any way or anything, not complaining, just confused by it, just brings up thoughts that maybe money is becoming an issue or something? I donno. -_-

Cakewalk - 3 months ago
@Bunnii:

Posted By Bunnii at 03:36 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By Imshada at 03:12 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

Posted By Bunnii at 01:56 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

The part about prologue confuses me. So after the investments we have made into the game, we are going to have to pay more to build (which was more of a "meh" response, strange but not too crazy), and then on top of it, you have to buy creatures and stuff to put in it? That seems super strange to me...

Exposition and the Prologue adventure creator being announced here are two separate things. Expo hasn't changed at all, it still works the same way as before; what's new is basically a "scenario editor" that they're saying they're going to make, which will be built to work with the Prologue client and can be used to make scenarios that can be played by others with the (free) Prologue client. That's not part of the actual on-server game world, though. Like the Prologue, it's its own standalone experience that simply utilizes the CoE game client.

Yeah I know, was talking about the prologue specifically not expo at all. Just seems strange to me paying for animals in a single player (possibly 5-10 friends) environment. Kinda hard to pin down exactly why, but the word "money grubbing" keeps coming into my head, which I'm not keen on it because its strong negative annotation, but that seems like a very lame thing to have to buy, after buying kindgoms and duchies and all the other tiers people may have bought lol I guess I just don't understand it other than maybe a desperation for money.

Not trying to be rude in any way or anything, not complaining, just confused by it, just brings up thoughts that maybe money is becoming an issue or something? I donno. -_-

Connotation.

Annotation means a note of explanation or comment added to a text or diagram.

Azeron - 3 months ago

Great news ! Looking forward to see all deadlines accomplished and I'm sure the biggest one is Exposition ;)

grandad1982 - 3 months ago

Thanks for the update. Really looking forward to the time the mechanics start getting rolled out.

One thing I'd like to hear about it's the financial situation. In the grand scheme of things you're budget doesn't seem that large. How do you see the funding for 2/2.5 more years of development working out?

Jazz - 3 months ago

And so The Great COE hybernation has begun, but this means I might be able to bug the devs like I used too.

Two quick follow up question if you don't mind.

Alpha and Beta time spans: Are the going to run into each other? Like one starting right after the other finishes or are they going to be avalible for a limited time, as in only being available a week/month at a time?

PS. Launch party comfirmed for 2019?????

Rhaegys - 3 months ago

It's good to see some realistic timeline finally. Also I like the fact that Elyria MUD is not permanent anymore (and KoE pushed really back) . I was always bothered that something used for testing at this early stage would affect the world at launch.

Xaar - 3 months ago

Also... 1H19 looks hectic!

Is it expected that exposition will run up to launch (perhaps bar a week or so for the stress tests and final release) or is it likely that there would be a significant gap between exposition and launch?

Ortherion - 3 months ago

A great update and really happy with the transparency.

Xaar - 3 months ago

I think you're likely to get a lot of questions about the add-on adventure toolkit, and some of them are likely to be framed unconstructively.

I suspect you may want to elaborate on the what & why & how much of the toolkit sooner than 2018, as I think quite a few people will be curious as to the virtue of it.

Gunnlang - 3 months ago

Great update and very nice to see some realistic dates up.

Dreamar - 3 months ago

"Fiends List" instead of "Friends List" intentional or in addition? ;)

TR3LON1ST - 3 months ago

Great update - thanks for keeping us in the loop!

Maulvorn - 3 months ago

I have a lot to say about the Horse animations, I will be making a thread about it :)

Rhonynn Farstrider - 3 months ago
@Maulvorn:

Best animal and riding animations I've ever seen. I'm gonna call my ursaphant Snuffy! =D

Thank you for the amazing transparency. I'm looking forward to testing out all of the Tribes and Biomes as soon I can touch them. =)

Sanguinesh Eviscerator - 3 months ago

before I flip the fuck out, I'm gonna ask for clarification ...

Am I reading correctly that we now have to pay extra for the architecture tool we were promised waaaaay back before kickstarter? Paying extra for that pre-pre alpha limited gameplay adventure deal would be bad enough, but for the ability to test the building mechanics many of us have been counting on for more than 2 1/2 years?

MoonChaser - 3 months ago
@Sanguinesh Eviscerator:
@Soulbound Studios
  • The multi client access video was a great idea to also emphasize that the voxel graphic won't be the graphic used for the finished product. No room for potential misunderstandings.
  • I'm extremely excited to have been and continue to take part in this amazing project. You are doing awesome work!
  • Here are some spelling mistakes to fix:

    1. "With that said, they do sometimes changes due [...]"- Timeline vs. Schedules

    Should be 'change'.

    1. "While it won't help with combat-latency, [...]"- Dely of Domain/Settlement Selection

    Should be 'will'.


@Sanguinesh Eviscerator

Posted By Sanguinesh Eviscerator at 07:09 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

before I flip the fuck out, I'm gonna ask for clarification ...

Am I reading correctly that we now have to pay extra for the architecture tool we were promised waaaaay back before kickstarter? Paying extra for that pre-pre alpha limited gameplay adventure deal would be bad enough, but for the ability to test the building mechanics many of us have been counting on for more than 2 1/2 years?

Actually it will not be pre-pre alpha limited but post alpha.
Sounds like feature complete to me.
We'll have to wait and see what the content packs are about, but that will be for 2018.

Scheneighnay - 3 months ago
@Sanguinesh Eviscerator:

Posted By Sanguinesh Eviscerator at 7/27/2017 5:09:28 AM

before I flip the fuck out, I'm gonna ask for clarification ...

Am I reading correctly that we now have to pay extra for the architecture tool we were promised waaaaay back before kickstarter? Paying extra for that pre-pre alpha limited gameplay adventure deal would be bad enough, but for the ability to test the building mechanics many of us have been counting on for more than 2 1/2 years?

From what I understand, that's not an architecture tool, it's a scenario editor.

High_Priestess - 3 months ago

Thank you for letting us take a peek behind the curtain. We are very excited for what is coming and thankful to this team for breathing life into Elyria. Many have waited for this for years and have been disappointed by broken promises. Games have been developed but most are just new paint jobs on old mechanics. Personally, i was losing faith in the industry, and my passion for gaming was dwindling with each new game released. Coe had renewed my enthusiasm and I look forward to seeing the story unfold.

Thanks for all your hard work and caring about your fans so much that you allowed us to be a part of the backstage process. It not easy to lay it all out there and be transparent.

Vucar - 3 months ago

Looks like a very realistic timeline and schedule, and roughly what most of us expected even back during kickstarter.

Thanks for sharing it with us and providing that transparency.

Caracole - 3 months ago

So happy to read this - really looking forward to the MUD. It was cool to see how the MUD/Elyria as-we-know-it meld together. Great job SBS.

Jasta85 - 3 months ago

Fantastic update, glad it directly addressed one of my main concerns which was having to dive into land selection without knowing how the biomes or any of the game mechanics worked, now we get to fully explore the game through elyria MUD before having to pick our territory. Great decision.

And I'm not sad about the final launch being in 2019, all great things take time to make, and we'll be able to play around with the MUD and KoE all next year.

Regnion - 3 months ago

Another year of development sounds very reasonable, and yet is still ambitious. Great work so far, the MUD looks fun and will appeal to wide audience.

Ulfnaor - 3 months ago

"In short, while we're actually right where we should be, we're obviously not when we'd like to be."

Well, that's one way to put it, given that the Kickstarter info spoke of launch in December 2017.

Luckily, most of us won't be disappointed, as we knew it simply wasn't realistic to hope for such a quick launch anyway.

Nice to see yall at SBS are back on track with proper timelines and schedules. Hope this continues.

Erynn_Crystalmir - 3 months ago

Nice update, thank you. So my words of support and reminder of care for you today is....avoid carpal tunnel syndrome from writing up 20,000 word posts and drink some apple juice. :)

Dongiovanna - 3 months ago

Nice .. good job devs. I will be keeping a close look. But for now i wish you all a nice summer holiday 😎

Morbis - 3 months ago

Mispost!

Um... looks good! Didn't really mean to post here.

NightWerewolf - 3 months ago

Not entirely sure what you're going for for the Pax West showing.. but it looks like jousting. And whether it is or isn't I still approve.

Jousting would be cool though. Just saying :)

Imshada - 3 months ago

Wow. Just wow.

This entire write-up was actually better than I had expected, and has really reinvigorated my confidence in SBS's ability to put out a really kick-ass end product. The bit on the development process, the reshuffling of priorities, and the reasons for doing so demonstrate that you guys really have a great feel for what needs to be put first. The order of development makes perfect sense, and to be honest, seeing the Unreal client and the MUD client running together in real-time is actually the single most reassuring thing I've seen to date. The horse animations, too... that trot-to-gallop transition looks beautiful.

Really looking forward to the new update format and getting a closer look at the sprint cycles for the various dev teams. That sounds incredible, and aside from the few "salters gonna salt" members of the community, I'm sure it'll give all of CoE's followers a ton of confidence in how bright this game's future is looking. Really well done, Caspian. Thanks so much for sharing.

Daynen - 3 months ago

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Stay the course, SBS. You may not be the developers we deserve, but you're damn sure the developers we need right now.

Falendor - 3 months ago

A Great update. I'm looking forward to hearing more from my favorite studio.

TheMurossy - 3 months ago

Its so far away :'c But it will be so good :')

Hoshino - 3 months ago

SBS Keep up all the good work and thanks for the updates. Info about the architecture tools would be nice. Unless it's in there some where. I'll reread it again later.

Sohei - 3 months ago

Thanks for the update! Things are looking great.

Chroniclesofalias - 3 months ago

<3

Lofi - 3 months ago

Brilliant post, Caspian and well done team Soulbound!

c0lalight - 3 months ago

RIP

Arthos - 3 months ago

V3 of the Website (Q3 2017) ElyriaMUD (Q4 2017) <---- Ok? Alpha 1 (T1 2018) Server Selection (T1 2018) Settlement / Domain Selection (T2 2018) <----wtf? KoE (T2 2018) <---- Almost an entire year later until releasing the nobles side of things.

Anyone else a bit burnt out right now? I know I sure am. I was expecting to see this stuff in the next 4, maybe 5 months. not an entire year from now. Thanks for the update otherwise but I think I'm CoE'd out for awhile this is just ridiculous. See you in 2 more years...

protagonist - 3 months ago
@Arthos:

Posted By Arthos at 04:27 AM - Thu Jul 27 2017

V3 of the Website (Q3 2017) ElyriaMUD (Q4 2017) <---- Ok? Alpha 1 (T1 2018) Server Selection (T1 2018) Settlement / Domain Selection (T2 2018) <----wtf? KoE (T2 2018) <---- Almost an entire year later until releasing the nobles side of things.

Anyone else a bit burnt out right now? I know I sure am. I was expecting to see this stuff in the next 4, maybe 5 months. not an entire year from now. Thanks for the update otherwise but I think I'm CoE'd out for awhile this is just ridiculous. See you in 2 more years...

Rank 8, so you must have Alpha 1 access, so you'll have something to play starting Jan-Apr next year. Not to mention that glorious looking MUD.

Nayr Murdoc - 3 months ago
@Arthos:

Bye

LukeSpyro - 3 months ago
@Arthos:

Lel. I get where you are coming from, but you have some crazy expectations of them considering how small the team is in relation to the size of their workload, which is, in a way, a kind of compliment.

Cya in 2 years then :D

Belzak - 3 months ago

Amazing post, so much goodness in this. Animations and the gear snips are amazing. The world looks amazing!!

Flavores - 3 months ago

Excellent, exactly the kinda updates I've been hoping for.

Colga - 3 months ago

Just a quick skim through before reading the whole post. Glad to see a very complete plan on what to expect from the game later in development. Will be following this closely.

Bedeude - 3 months ago

Hmm, that "sneak peek" video for Pax makes me think they've started work on a little something seeing as its a jousting arena....

Rofus - 3 months ago

Cool stuff! Slightly disappointed that how far the actual launch is in the timeline but it's better do it right than rush it.

Anyhow, thanks for the great update!

Togesi - 3 months ago

Thank you for all of the hard work you do, we are all excited!

HammerStrike - 3 months ago

Wow! I'm blown away. Just blown away. Thank you SBS!

CoffinFodder - 3 months ago

So happy we got an update . Thanks for all of the info!!!

RoqueKazin - 3 months ago

This looks fantastic, loving all that SBS is doing to deliver an amazing game to our doorstep!

Norvol - 3 months ago

Am I the only one that can't view the mp4 videos I tried on Chrome and Internet Explorer.

Norvol - 3 months ago
@Norvol:

Was fixed

Serafeim_Amalesh - 3 months ago
@Norvol:

Hit the YouTube button on the vid window and should take you there, then its fine

Xarkfleur - 3 months ago

Excellent!!! Thanks so much <3

So many nuggets to sift through; thoroughly appreciate the sense of clarity this conjures up for me.